Conservation Practices

Quantifying Conservation Benefits for Illinois Soybean Farmers: Extrapolating On-Farm Trial Measurements to Commercial Farm Fields Through Validated Algorithms and Methods

This project will evaluate current and past trial data, as well as implement additional trials across the state, to help quantify the benefits of adopting conservation management practices so that Illinois’ soybean farmers are equipped to take advantage of developing ecosystem marketplaces. Project output will include reports farmers can use to inform their management decisions and improve outcomes specific to soybean productivity, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, soil carbon sequestration and water quality.

Project Information

  • How do conservation practices like cover crops, conservation tillage and more strategic nutrient management impact crop productivity and the bottom line?
  • How do conservation practices affect soil health, water quality, GHG emissions and soil carbon sequestration?
  • How can results from other locations be useful to a specific farmer when there are so many variables that influence these types of outcomes?
  • Leveraging existing ISA-funded research sites through Dr. Andrew Margenot’s project, Benchmarking and integrating soil health, water quality and climate-smart footprints of Illinois soybeans
  • 40 farm fields across Illinois to be recruited in 2024
    • If you are a farmer or landowner interested in participating in this study, please email Dr. Kaiyu Guan
  • Because each field is unique, it is challenging to provide farmers with data they feel is relevant to their farm and compelling enough to transition their management approach to include more conservation practices.
  • Through this research, the goal is to translate on-farm trial measurement results into quantifiable guidance that farmers can use as they make management decisions for their commercial fields.
  • By generating quantitative estimations of how conservation management practices impact crop productivity, GHG emissions, soil carbon sequestration, and nitrogen leaching, farmers will be equipped with field-level, yet scientific, data they can use in their decision-making process.
  • The resulting data will also help farmers determine how they can engage in the developing ecosystem marketplaces, such as a carbon credit market.
  • Dr. Andrew Margenot, Associate Professor, UIUC
  • Ziyi Li, PhD Student, UIUC

About the Lead Researchers

Dr. Kaiyu Guan
Associate Professor
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

Dr. Bin Peng
Assistant Professor
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

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.