River council hears drought impact
The drought’s impact varies along the Mississippi River, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon and the Mississippi River Coordinating Council heard last week.
Navigation through the upper Mississippi River down to the confluence of the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers near St. Louis has not been impacted by the drought, reported James Stiman, chief of the water control for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Rock Island District.
However, the drought has resulted in historically low average river levels along the middle Mississippi down to the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers near Cairo. Stiman reported low water levels are forcing reductions in barge loads.
State water conservation and other drought-related information is online at www.drought.illinois.gov
The Centralia Animal Disease Lab is providing “significantly more testing for nitrate (in corn samples) than in years past, and we are glad to provide that service,” Acting Illinois Director of Agriculture Bob Flider told FarmWeek last week.
Dr. Gene Niles, the lab’s director, has said the lab planned to continue providing testing services through Aug. 15 before the lab closes Aug. 31 as a budget-cutting measure.
“There is still a severe funding shortage, and that was what caused the decision (to close the lab). Overcoming that is a huge obstacle,” Flider said.
Aflatoxin in corn
The Illinois Department of Agriculture is surveying some 280 grain elevator operators in the state about their plans to handle aflatoxin-contaminated grain. Aflatoxin levels are highest during hot, dry summers.
Aflatoxins are chemicals produced by certain mold fungi and can be harmful or fatal to livestock at certain levels.
The Illinois State Water Survey reported rapid drop in streamflow. Some regions have reached or are close to 10-year low levels. Decline is expected to continue in all parts of the state with more regions expected to reach 10-year low levels this week or next.
Bulk water sales stopped
Mt. Pulaski in Logan County has stopped bulk water sales because of low levels in the city’s wells, according to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The pumping level is the lowest level ever seen in those wells.
Free plant help
Farmers may bring a plant sample for diagnosis Aug. 16 to the University of Illinois Agronomy Day. Experts in plant disease, insect, and weed identification will be available at the plant clinic booth located in the large tent.
Typically, a fee is charged for all samples, but Agronomy Day visitors will be permitted to bring one sample for a free diagnosis on a first-come, first-served basis.
Agronomy Day activities will start at 7 a.m. with one-hour tours departing every half hour until noon.