ISA hosted its first regional ILSoyAdvisor Field Days this year. From August
4 – 6, we brought soybean experts to fields around the state to share the latest information, tools and technology producing higher yields and better profitability. 

The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS) was released on July 21. The document provides a framework for reducing nutrient losses from all sources—industry, municipal water sources, lawns, golf courses and farmland.

The goal of the NLRS is to reduce nutrients—primarily nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)—that flow into streams and rivers. The strategy calls for a reduction of the state’s phosphorus load by 25 percent and its nitrate-nitrogen load by 15 percent by 2025. The eventual target is a 45 percent reduction in the loss of these nutrients into the Mississippi River.

By committing to conservation tillage, buffer strips, nutrient management and cover crops, Illinois farmers are using and evaluating best management practices to conserve natural resources and protect water quality.

We have already seen significant change. There has been a large increase in spring nitrogen sales in the state from 2012 to 2014. And fall fertilizer sales have decreased 30 percent over the last three crop years. Alongside those, there has been a large increase in the sales of nitrification inhibitors in the last 10 years. These actions mean that growers are already keeping more nitrogen for the crop and letting less wash away. This is good for the grower and the environment.

Because the strategy calls for voluntary adoption of sustainable BMPs, we are encouraging all Illinois soybean growers to learn more about it and additional BMPs that may be suitable for their farming operations.

Find more information on the NLRS from ISA and IFCA.


Dan Schaefer is the director of nutrient stewardship for the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA). He is a certified professional agronomist and certified crop adviser in Illinois with an M.S. in Crop Science from the University of Illinois. Prior to joining IFCA in 2012, he spend 31 years in the retail fertilizer business.

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