Illinois farmers, retailers, and other conservation practitioners recently gathered in Champaign-Urbana to hear from Illinois NREC funded researchers at the Investment Insights Live event. Since 2012, Illinois farmers and retailers have invested over $30 million into nutrient efficiency research and this annual event is an opportunity for the researchers to share their findings and pass along the best management practices that have been identified or refined through the process.
Over 120 attendees listened to topics about cover crops, the role of legacy phosphorus, nitrogen and phosphorus rates and timing, and the importance of understanding phosphorus “hot spots” and managing phosphorus applications accordingly. In addition, the crowd heard about the maize microbiome and how a better understanding of it can lead to advanced knowledge of nutrient retention in Illinois soils. There was a significant focus on collaboration and the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to address the issue of nutrient loss in Illinois. This collaboration was highlighted in a joint presentation by Dr. Jon Schoonover of SIU Carbondale and Dr. Andrew Margenot from the University of Illinois.
Attendees wrapped up the day with an interactive poster session with over 40 presentations from students who are working on projects that receive funding from Illinois NREC. The poster session is always a highlight of the event and serves as an opportunity for stakeholders to connect directly with the students who are doing the heavy lifting on the projects. The session offers students a chance to talk about their work and ask questions of farmers and other practitioners about the real-world application of the work they are doing.
All in all, it was a great day that highlighted the ongoing research investments being made by Illinois NREC on behalf of Illinois farmers and retailers and showed how these investments are working to find answers regarding how nutrient research can meet the agronomic, economic, and environmental needs of Illinois farms.