As an Illinois farmer, David Olson faced rising nitrogen bills. To alleviate this issue, he began to implement legume cover crops on his farm to produce nitrogen after wheat harvest.

Starting out, Olson had many questions about costs, synthetic fertilizer, yield, and return on investment. To find answers, Olson collaborated with Jim Isermann of the Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership to develop research plots on his farm for evaluation over a 4-to-5-year period. Doug Hanson with ProHarvest Seeds also assisted with soil and nitrate testing and selected cover crop species for the plots.

Illinois soybean farmers will have the opportunity to learn about this multiyear study at the next Illinois Soybean Association Field Talk. During this event, Olson and a line-up of expert speakers will explain the 1st year of this study pertaining to legume cover crop after wheat and nitrogen management. The study aims to assess the cost, return on investment, and average yield of this multiyear legume cover crop and nitrogen management strategy.


9am – 9:30am – On-Farm Research of Legumes Following Wheat (David Olson, Farmer)

9:30am – 10:00am – Soil and Nitrate Testing with Analysis and Cover Crop Species/Seed Selection (Doug Hanson, ProHarvest Seeds)

10:00am – 10:45am – PhD Research: Water Quality, Nutrient Loss, and Nitrogen Management for Nutrient Cycling and Reduction Strategies (Dr. Giovani Preza-Fontes, Assistant Professor, Crop Sciences, University of Illinois)

10:45am – 11:30am – Illinois Soybean Association Update (Abigail Peterson, ISA Director of Agronomy and Stephanie Porter, ISA Outreach Agronomist)

11:30am – 11:45am – Torey Colburn, American Farmland Trust

11:45am – 12:00pm – Program and Cost Share Opportunities (Vermilion Co. SWCD/NRCS)

Noon – Lunch

Lunch and CCA credits provided.

The first 50 registrants receive a free Illinois Soybean Association bag chair.

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About the Author: Kelsey Litchfield

Kelsey Litchfield is the Agronomic Outreach Specialist for the Illinois Soybean Association. In her role, she manages ILSoyAdvisor media platforms and assists the agronomy team with events and field days. A native of Rio, IL, Kelsey earned her bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2017 where she double majored in Agricultural Communications and Broadcast Journalism.

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