Illinois 4-H team named national livestock judging champions
Since its inception in 1919, the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest has never ended in a tie — that is, until this year. The 4-H teams from Illinois and Virginia were even at the end of competition. Illinois was named the national champion based on its higher reasons score.
In addition to the team championship, Illinois 4-H member Mason Engnell of McDonough County was named the overall individual winner of the contest held Nov. 13 in Louisville, Ky.
Other members of the team include Clay Sundberg of LaSalle County, Jenna Wheeler of Morgan County, Nicole Haverback of Henry County and Jake Bohnsack of Rock Island County. University of Illinois graduate student Gracia Ramp coached the team to victory.
In addition to their third-place finish in the reasons division, the team placed second in swine, third in beef cattle and seventh in sheep.
Team members also took top individual honors, says Dan Jennings, U of I Extension 4-H animal science educator. Engnell earned his overall championship by placing second in cattle, third in reasons, fourth in swine and seventh in sheep. Sundberg finished 14th overall, scoring second in swine, seventh in reasons and 22nd in cattle. Haverback finished 18th overall, with a ninth-place finish in cattle and 23rd-place finish in reasons. Wheeler was 23rd overall, finishing fifth in swine and sixth in cattle.
U of I moves ahead with Feed Technology Center
The University of Illinois has entered a public-private partnership to build a new state-of-the-art Feed Technology Center near its Urbana campus for the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The highly anticipated facility will replace the 1920s-era feed mill.
“The new Feed Technology Center will significantly expand our capabilities in the animal nutrition space, which is critical for developing new diets that utilize novel ingredients, improve production efficiency in livestock and poultry, and enhance the health and well-being of animals, including dogs and cats,” says Rodney Johnson, head of the U of I Department of Animal Sciences.
The facility will be capable of delivering 8,000 tons of specialized small-batch research diets per year. These include production and storage of grain and forages; storage of specialized diet ingredients; precise diet formulations; milling; ingredient processing; and premixing, mixing, pelleting, extruding, crumbling, bagging and delivery of animal diets for research.
Researchers in the Department of Animal Sciences, as well as other units across the university, will use the facility to prepare and test animal feed ingredients. The Feed Technology Center will also serve as a launch pad for bigger-picture work designed to advance precision animal agriculture throughout the industry.
Compeer Financial awards ag grants
Groups striving to make innovative impacts in agriculture and rural America are receiving $150,000 in grants from Compeer Financial.
A total of 13 groups, including five in Illinois, have been selected for grants where Compeer Financial serves as lead investor for a program that fills a known void for clients served by the cooperative.
“This is an opportunity for Compeer to make a big difference where there is a significant gap or need in our territory,” says John Monson, chairman of the Compeer Financial Fund for Rural America board of trustees. “These programs spark a new project and inspire ideas and skills to shape current and future agriculturalists.”
Compeer dedicates 1% of its annual net earnings to the rural board, some of which goes on to support these Illinois projects:
• Chicago Botanical Gardens, Farm on Ogden. $30,000 to build out a demonstration kitchen space and buy a tilt kettle to provide cooking classes and locally grown fresh food and vegetables to urban residents
• Colfax Restoration Project, Downtown Greenspace. $2,700 for landscaping, painted murals on buildings and other expenses related to displaying historical items and seating areas
• Lexington FFA, Agriculture Program Revitalization. $7,500 for carpentry, metalwork, horticulture and aquaculture supplies for the agriculture department
• Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce, Farmers Market Expansion. $4,265 for advertising expenses and indoor facility rental for expanding the farmers market and winter market
• Warren-Henderson Farm Bureau, expanding youth agricultural education. $5,500 for resources for Ag in the Classroom lessons and events
Study finds hybrid rye may be used in pig diets
Fungal contamination has historically held farmers back from growing hybrid rye, but newer hybrids coming to North America from Europe promise greater yields and less susceptibility to fungus.
Scientists at the University of Illinois have taken the first step toward understanding the nutritional value of hybrid rye with a study published in the Journal of Animal Science.
Molly McGhee, a graduate student working with Hans Stein in the Department of Animal Sciences at U of I, built an experiment where seven growing barrows were consecutively fed diets consisting of barley, wheat, corn and three types of hybrid rye — two grown in Europe and one in Canada.
The grain, which was the sole source of amino acids and starch in each diet, was mixed with a small amount of soybean oil, vitamins and minerals to meet nutritional requirements. A nitrogen-free diet based on cornstarch and sucrose was also included in the experiment as a control.
The apparent ileal digestibility (AID) of starch was greater in wheat and corn than in barley or hybrid rye, but starch AID values in all diets were greater than 95%. Most amino acids were found in higher concentrations in hybrid rye than in corn, but they were less digestible in rye than in the other grains.
“We think the amount of digestible amino acids was less in hybrid rye than in barley and wheat because they are higher in protein overall. Essentially, hybrid rye comes out in the middle of those other cereal grains for digestibility of both amino acids and starch,” Stein says. “Hybrid rye has the potential to be cost-effective in comparison with other cereal grains when used in diets for pigs.”
The work is in its infancy; Stein and McGhee have several more experiments planned.
Pork donated to Greater Chicago Food Depository
The Illinois Pork Producers Association, Smithfield Foods and Prairie Fresh recently partnered to bring 90,000 pounds of pork donations to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
This donation will provide nearly 360,000 servings of protein to Chicagoans.
Pig farmers from across the state launched the Pork Power Program in 2008 with the primary goal of getting nutritious pork protein into the hands of those in need. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the program has donated over 625,000 pounds of pork to food banks and independent pantries across the state.