Illinois Precision Conservation Management program releases new data

The Illinois Conservation Management Program has released new data highlighting conservation efforts by more than 400 farmers in the state.

Laura Gentry with the Illinois Corn Growers Association tells Brownfield the Business Case for Conservation summarizes their findings since the program began in 2015.  She says 2022 data continues to show that farmers who follow the University of Illinois suggested Maximum Return to Nitrogen Rate (MRTN) are most profitable.

“And we’re also seeing that the most profitable timing is when it’s mostly in season either side dress or pre-plant. Farmers are getting better use of it, they’re applying less and they don’t have to pay for stabilizer.”

Gentry says there has been steady adoption of cover crops with 70 percent of PCM farmers using cover crops again on cornfields and 75 percent on soybean fields. And while most do see a slight yield decline, 2023 data shows one exception.

“When farmers are growing a cover crop ahead of soybeans, specifically cereal rye in a no-till system, it looks like those farmers are not seeing a yield impact, which I think is really interesting.”

And when it comes to tillage, “We see again and again farmers who are doing more than two tillage passes ahead of either corn or soybeans, it’s just not profitable. They are not making more money.”

But she says farmers know their fields best and sometimes an extra tillage pass can be beneficial.

Click here to read the full data summary.

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