A recent survey by USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) shows Illinois farmers continue to embrace Best Management Practices tied to the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS).

The survey questions covered nutrient management strategies, cover crops, edge-of-field practices, use of soil tests, erosion management and knowledge of certain NLRS components. Farmers were asked to respond based on crop years 2011, which was selected as a base year, and 2015.

“This survey is proof that our agricultural community has a good story to tell. Illinois farmers are taking ownership of these uses, specifically agricultural non-point nutrient loss, and they are willing and able to meet the challenge through voluntary involvement and best management practice adoption,” said Warren Goetsch, Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA).

The survey showed the majority of Illinois corn acres follow the recommended MRTN (Maximum Return to Nitrogen) application guidelines and more than half of farmers are knowledgeable or very knowledgeable of the aspects of the 4R Strategy of Right Nutrient Source at the Right Rate, in the Right Place and Right Timing.

In addition, Illinois farmers have more than doubled their use of cover crops in the last five years to nearly half a million acres.

The survey was funded by a partnership between the Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council (NREC) and Illinois Farm Bureau. “This survey is an important part of the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and provides an analysis of the adoption and understanding of the practices outlined in the strategy. The results establish a set of baseline statistics and also show the changes in cultural practices from 2011 to 2015. With support from NREC and Illinois Farm Bureau, we will look to repeat this survey on a biannual basis to continue 1 to track these issues,” said Mark Schleusener, Illinois State Statistician, USDA/NASS.

The full summary of survey results is available here.

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