Conservation Practices

Controlled-Release N, P & K Fertilizer Management in Strip-Till 30” Rows and No-Till 15″ Rows for High-Yield Soybeans

This project aims to better understand how strategic nutrient management can impact soybean yield across northern and central Illinois. It will evaluate different nutrient strategies under no-till, strip-till, 15” rows, 30” rows, with cover crops, and without cover crops. Data will be used to inform future year trials and ultimately provide farmers with best management practices for nutrient management in soybean crops.

Project Information

  • Which fertilizer, row spacing and reduced-tillage regimens most consistently increase soybean yield?
  • When is the optimal timing of fertilizer placement to positively impact soybean yield?
  • What is the right combination of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), potassium (K), sulfur (S) and micronutrients to push soybean yields to the next level?
  • Five sites across northern and central Illinois
  • In Illinois, it’s more common for farmers to focus fertilizer management on their corn crop with the belief some fertilizer will remain for their soybean crop. However, this approach may result in yield being left in the field.
  • In addition, little is known about the impact of N and S on soybean yield in no-till, strip-till and cover cropping systems, as well as when to time applications to optimize nutrient uptake for soybean growth and yield.
  • Ideally, these trials will continue for two more years to gain adequate data that can be analyzed in conjunction with data from similar trials.
  • Results from this and similar trials will enable more farmers to assess how reduced tillage, strategic nutrient management and row spacing can fit into their operations to improve soybean yield.
  • More specifically, this trial hopes to show how strip-till can replace full width tillage and fertilizer banding to improve soybean yields.
  • Eric Miller, Farmer; Director, Piatt County SWCD Board
  • Lowell Gentry, Principal Research Specialist in Agriculture
  • Jason Solberg, CCA, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association

About the Lead Researcher

Daniel Schaefer
Nutrient Stewardship Director
Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA)

Are you a farmer or advisor?

If you’re a farmer or advisor, we invite you to take our Soybean Production Concerns Survey linked below to help guide future ISA research efforts. We also encourage you to contact us below with specific production challenge research ideas.

Are you a researcher?

If you’re a researcher interested in working with ISA on a project, we encourage you to contact us with your ideas. The RFP will open in early March. Contact us below to be added to the mailing list for more information.