• John Vogel

    Stop Feeding the 'Monster'

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 26, 2008

    ‘Monsters’ are perceptional images arising from talk or action that take on larger than life attributes. We try, for example, to teach our kids that “greed” can grow into an ugly green monster that can panic us if we don’t control it. In that sense, the monster can bite. If you own stocks, mutual funds and other investment vehicles, you’ve been bitten.   Take the recent news headline: “Bear market is like nothing America has ever experienced”. There’s nothing like a good bad headline to…

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  • Josh Flint

    Is an FFV Mandate the Answer to Foreign Oil Dependence?

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on November 26, 2008

    According to Robert Zubrin, making E85 the preferred fuel in the U.S. is as easy as mandating all cars sold in this country must be flex-fuel vehicles.   Zubrin, president of Pioneer Astronautics, spoke at the 2008 Illinois Commodity Conference in Bloomington.   To be quite frank, some of Zubrin's comments were startling. For example, Zubrin detailed something called the Takeover Threat, which really hit home with today's economy. In a nutshell, Zubrin says we are spending so much on…

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  • Holly Spangler

    From Dust to Dust

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 24, 2008

    It’s with sadness that I report today that Roger Allaman, a 2008 Master Farmer, died Saturday, November 22.   I first came to know Roger as a young freshman at the University of Illinois. His daughter, Lori, was one of my first roommates at 4-H House, and Roger was the all-American Illini dad. He met his wife, Jule, at U of I. “We loved every minute down there,” he’d said.   Over the years, I ran into Roger at various farm meetings. Then when he was selected as a Master Farmer this past…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Maximizing that Capacity

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 24, 2008

    There's always talk about "machinery capacity" and what that means for the farm. You have to figure on having the equipment you need for a worst-case year (or at least access to extra equipment) or else your key "payday" could be missed. We were down in Iowa at the home farm this past weekend for a visit, and everyone was pushing full out. Whether it was my wife's cousin on their operation or my nephew finishing up that last corn, it was a time we usually see in October. For many a hiccup in…

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  • John Vogel

    Heading into 'Crazy Season'

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 17, 2008

    Wildlife experts and seasoned hunters often describe white-tailed deer “rutting” season as that time when bucks go crazy. They won’t even stop short of being a fender ornament if there’s a doe, or two or three across the road.   But bucks have a lot of crazy two-legged company destined for the woods and fields. The old testosterone began rising as they hunted in Cabelas, Bass Pro and other sporting goods stores.   You don’t think all the guns sold after President-elect Obama was elected…

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  • Josh Flint

    All About Corn (Well, Almost)

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on November 17, 2008

    With a new baby, I hardly ever get to sleep through the night. About a week ago, I started recording programs so I would have something better than infomercials to watch.   The other night, I watched a Discovery Channel program on corn. A group called Howstuffworks (www.howstuffworks.com) put together an hour-long program on the basics of corn growing and corn's versatility.   Within the first few minutes, I laughed at "the shocking revelation most viewers don't know." Ready for the big…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Machinery Sales Demand to Continue?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 14, 2008

    Every month the Association of Equipment Manufacturers releases their "flash report" showing just what's going on in the farm equipment market each month. Industry analysts will often take that information, along with their own market intelligence and pump out their take on what's happening.   It's interesting to parse this report with that insight. On the whole, farm equipment sales are solid with row-crop tractors (those over 100 hp) seeing good gains. In fact, in October the year-over-year…

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  • Josh Flint

    Reader Calls to Discuss Premise Registration

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on November 12, 2008

    I love it when readers call the office to chat. It's great to find out what issues are striking a chord.   Last week, a reader called to discuss premise registration for livestock owners. Illinois recently tried to institute a rule for the 2008 State Fair. The state tried to make premise registration mandatory if you wanted to show an animal at the fair.   As this reader told me, livestock owners went crazy. The state says premise registration will help health officials pinpoint and lock…

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  • John Vogel

    The Scariest Part of November 4 Was . . .

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 7, 2008

    Most of us were fixated on the running of the presidential horse race. (The big money was on Obama.) But coming up on the far left (California) was a ballot initiative with huge future implications for the U.S. livestock industry.   Proposition 2 passed by a three to one margin. “Prop 2” requires that all farm animals, “for all or the majority of any day,” not be confined or tethered in a manner that prevents an animal from lying down, standing up, turning around or extending its limbs…

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  • Josh Flint

    Emerson Nafziger Attempts to Replicate Kip Cullers' Soybean Yield

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on November 6, 2008

    This year at University of Illinois' Agronomy Day, Emerson Nafziger, an Extension crop specialist, showcased a plot of soybeans.   Nafziger had one goal with this particular plot. His aim was to replicate Missouri farmer Kip Cullers' record-breaking soybean yield of 154 bushels per acre.   Earlier this week, I ran into Nafziger at U of I. He'd just harvested and tabulated the results of his replication experiment. Nafziger grew two plots: irrigated and not irrigated. The irrigated plot…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Prop 2 Swings the Door Open

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 6, 2008

    A few weeks ago, I shared the story of Matt Kellogg, an Illinois hog producer who had the unique opportunity to share the ins and outs of his operation on the Oprah Winfrey show. At the heart of the show was discussion on Proposition 2, an animal rights measure on the California ballot that did pass on Tuesday, to the dismay of commercial livestock producers. The passage of that measure effectively shuts down the California egg industry, forcing California consumers to buy eggs from other…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Big-Rig Pickup?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 5, 2008

    This week in Las Vegas the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association is holding it's annual convention and show bringing together a wide range of manufacturers, including those responsible for the super-sized air foils you see on small Japanese cars. However, this show has attracted the attention of major manufacturers too - which is why Ford is showing off a new F-150 decked out SVT Raptor and Freightliner brings along the SportChassis P4XL.   Why do you care? SEMA is where a lot of…

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  • John Vogel

    Ahh, It's Almost Over!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 2, 2008

    Last Thursday afternoon, I walked into a Lancaster County, Pa., machinery dealer’s office and asked the boss, “How’s business?”   “Ask me a week from today,” he grinned. Being of the same conservative bent, I understood. The presidential election would be over unless lawyers tangle over “falling chads”, ghost voters, non-resident (ACORN) voters and the like.   As I drove through the country last week, I could see that most farmers were within a few days of winding up fall harvest. And as I…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Really? Only Half Done With Corn?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 1, 2008

    It's been slow going this fall, but that's no surprise to many of you. Although we finished up soybeans here on the Spangler farm over a week ago, our corn crop is just over half harvested. Maybe closer to 70% by the end of today. My husband, John, estimates that we'll need another good 15 days to finish up corn harvest.   In a normal year, we'd all be wrapping things up by this point, or if we weren't done, the end would very nearly be in sight. In fact, the IDOA reports that last year on…

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