15 Feb 2023

Be a Part of the History of Soils in Illinois

Your land, your soil may have been part of an historical and extensive soil sampling program dating back to 1899 by the University of Illinois. If your land was part of the original research, then the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC) needs your help in bringing soil sampling of that specific location full circle. Press Release   Illinois Centennial Soil Archive Project – One-pager

If you want to go directly to the map, click here.

19 Aug 2020

Illinois NREC Announces Recipients of 2021 Research Funding

The Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council recently awarded $4,037,640 in research grants for the 2021 Fiscal Year. Research focused on various practices and processes related to nutrient efficiency are the focus of the 34 newly funded projects.

Each year, Illinois farmers are assessed $.75/ton on bulk fertilizer sold in the state. Agricultural retailers work with Illinois NREC to collect the funds which are then invested in research and outreach activities. The Council was formed in 2012 and since that time has invested nearly $27M into this important research. The Council is funding 9 new projects and 25 projects that are ongoing and build on previous years of work. Proposals were submitted to the Council based on an RFP (Request for Proposal) that was developed by the Council and Research Committee. The Council and Research Committee then work with staff and outside peer reviewers to evaluate each project, review the objectives and methodology and then award the funding. NREC Research projects typically fall into four major categories: 4R’s – applying the right source of fertilizer, at the right rate, right time, and right place, Cover Crops, Edge of Field Practices, and Novel/Innovative approaches to nutrient utilization.

You can find a full listing of the 2021 funded projects here: 2021 Research Projects

27 Mar 2020

NREC-funded Research in Peer-Reviewed Journal

Thanks to the ongoing work of NREC funded researchers at the University of Illinois and cooperators from the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, the results of “Soil and crop response to phosphorus and potassium management under conservation tillage” have been published in the Agronomy Journal.

Core Ideas from the published research are:

  • No-till reduced yield relative to strip-till
  • Deep banding P and K with strip-till resulted in no yield advantage over broadcast applications
  • Although there is no agronomic advantage, deep banding effectively reduced soil P and K levels in soil surface layers
  • Critical soil test K levels were greater than current recommendations

You can read the full journal article here: Strip-till paper 2020 and a summary here: Investment Insight March_3-20

23 Mar 2020

Missed the Spring Nitrogen Webinar? You can view the archived version here

On Friday March 20, 2020 Dr. Emerson held a webinar helping farmers and retailers prepare for nitrogen fertilizer decisions as we inch closer to Spring field work and the planting of the 2020 crop.

The pdf’s from the presentation are available here: Spring N Mgt webinar March 2020 and you can also view/hear the archived webinar at this link: March 20 2020 Spring N Webinar Archive . Those needing CEU’s can self-report 1 CEU in Nutrient Management.



20 Feb 2020

Four Students Recognized for their Research Posters

SPRINGFIELD, IL.  February 20, 2020. The Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC) recognized four students for outstanding presentation of their nutrient management research. The awards, voted on by professionals and by attendees, were decided on Thursday, February 13 at NREC’s annual research forum – NREC Investment Insight LIVE.  Each student will receive an NREC portable charger for their recognition.

“Each graduate student’s poster was evaluated on its presentation quality, originality, interpretation of results, and how well the student communicated their results,” Shani Golovay said.  Dr. Golovay is NREC’s research manager. Evaluators were drawn from the attendees who have a history of reviewing posters.  “We also decided a People’s Choice award for one student’s effort,” she added.

The three students receiving professionally-juried awards were:

  • First place: Taylor Berkshire for “Removing Dissolved Phosphorus with P-Sorbing Materials.” Berkshire is a student at the University of Illinois.
  • Second place (tie): Corey Lacey for “Investigation of Fate of Cereal Rye Residue and Fertilizer N within a Corn and Soybean Rotation.” Lacey is a student at Illinois State University.
  • Second place (tie): Allan Hertzberger for “Struvite” a Slow Release Phosphorus Source of Illinois Corn and Soybeans.” Hertzberger is a student at the University of Illinois.

Richard Roth, a student at Purdue University, received the People’s Choice award for his “A Long-Term Evaluation of Nitrogen Application Timing and Cover Crops Impacts on the Fate and Availability of Nitrogen Fertilizer and Crop Production on Tile Drained Fields.”

Copies of the posters from the 27 student who participated will be on the NREC web site at www.illinoisnrec.org in the coming days.


The Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council (NREC) was created by state statute in 2012. Funded by a 75-cent per ton assessment on bulk fertilizer sold in Illinois, NREC provides financial support for nutrient research and education programs to ensure the discovery and adoption of practices that address environmental concerns, optimize nutrient use efficiency, and ensure soil fertility. A 13-member NREC Council annually solicits, reviews and funds projects that fulfill the organization’s mission.

22 Oct 2019

Cover Crop Guide 2.0

Cover Crop Guide 2019.digital

We have worked closely with Cover Crop experts and our partners at the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association to publish an updated Cover Crop Guide. Our original Cover Crop Guide was widely distributed and helped farmers make informed decisions about getting started with Cover Crops. This guide is updated with the latest science and includes links to other resources which can help make the best decisions.

Additional copies can be requested by filling out this form: https://forms.gle/wryR4Cf7T6PFZUbi6



28 Oct 2018

Updated iOS MRTN Calculator now available

The app version of the Illinois MRTN (Maximum Return to Nitrogen) Rate Calculator has recently been updated with current research values from research conducted under the direction of Dr. Emerson Nafziger and with the on-farm work of Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association.

The update also supports new iOS versions and improves usability.

You can download/update the app from the Apple App Store by searching for MRTN Rate Calculator or by clicking this link.

For help in using the app – see these instructions: MRTN Apple App instructions

28 Oct 2018

NEW Guide to Illinois MRTN Available

In the first five years of NREC hundreds of nitrogen rate trials have been conducted across Illinois. This research has resulted in a new publication: “Using the Maximum Return to Nitrogen (MRTN) System in Illinois”.

This guide explains the terminology and the process for determining the Maximum Return to Nitrogen
(MRTN), which is the N rate that maximizes the dollar return to N. It also addresses commonly asked
questions and dispel myths about nitrogen use, all in an effort to support sound agronomic principles, and
to increase economic return while respecting our environment.

The guide can be downloaded here or you can request printed copies by filling out this short form.

MRTN Guide – 2018