The Illinois Tree Buffer Initiative is preparing for another year of working with farmers to plant trees around livestock buildings.
University of Illinois Extension Educator Jay Soloman, who works on the initiative, said the buffers serve more of a purpose than simply hiding the barns from view.
Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association staff Dan Schaefer and Jason Solberg provided their agronomic expertise to CBMP during the three year Lake Springfield Watershed project, from 2014-2016. Their role was to work with farmers to implement nitrogen rate trials to the growers’ confidence in using the Maximum Return to Nitrogen (MRTN) recommendation system.
Keeping nutrients in the fields – and out of the rivers and reservoirs – is a vital part of successful harvests and environmental sustainability. NREC funds several projects that explore ways to reduce tile nitrate loads while maintaining high crop yields. Factors such as cover crops, nitrate application timing, and bioreactors (and combinations) offer promising methods of sustainable practices.
By 2025, the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy calls for a 15% reduction in nitrate in Illinois rivers and streams compared to levels that existed in 1997-2011. The graph below shows the sources of nitrate contributions (Urban Runoff, Point Sources and Non-Point Sources).
About 65 people learned about nutrient strategies March 25 during a Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Field Day on the Dean Carrillon farm near Carlyle. Clinton County Farm Bureau hosted the event, funded in partnership with an Illinois Farm Bureau Nutrient Stewardship Grant.
In 2016, 60 farmers participated in the NREC funded Nitrogen Rate Trials. These farmers worked in concert with their ag retailers and with Dan Schaefer of IFCA to incorporate replicated nitrogen rate trials in their fields using nitrogen rates from 0 to 250 lbs of nitrogen and nitrogen timings that included fall, spring, post-application and late season nitrogen treatments.
Eighteen Illinois county Farm Bureaus have been awarded grants under Nutrient Stewardship Grant program. Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) has awarded the grants – totaling more than $99,000 – for the second consecutive year to help promote local nutrient stewardship, soil health and water quality projects.
Illinois Farm Bureau has released a 2016 Water Quality Report highlighting activities focused on improving water quality and implementing the state’s Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, including details about the Nutrient Stewardship Grant Program, the Iowa Nutrient Issues Tour, and plans for doing even more into 2017.
Check out the short videos (each is less than two minutes) where IAA Board members show the steps they are taking to implement good nutrient management on their own farms.
Recent results from the USDA/NASS Producer Survey show marked improvements in the implementation of practices outlined in the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.