Illinois NREC works closely with our funded researchers to identify the most advanced tools available to help us better understand the fate of nitrogen fertilizers. Learn more about this important tool and see preliminary results.
In a field-size study area, Dr. Williard and his team are in the middle of a multi-year project at Southern Illinois University farms to look at relationships between cover crops and N availability to corn. What they have learned so far is that cereal rye is an effective scavenger of nitrogen, reducing the amount of nitrate that leached via soil water. Click here for the latest. Cover Crops and Water Quality – Williard
Building upon past research, Dr. Schoonover and his team are demonstrating an alternative design of saturated buffers that address commonly encountered issues with the Best Management Practices (BMP) of saturated buffers. This new research will look at the alternative designs, as well as installation requirements and effectiveness under various field and climatic conditions. The research is taking place in Moultrie County. Saturated Buffers – Schoonover
Current N management guidelines in Illinois are not adjusted for inclusion of cover crops especially with different cover crop termination dates. The termination date can influence the decomposition rate of cover crops in a corn cropping system and change the dynamics of N release to the crop. Dr. Amir Sadeghpour of Southern Illinois University leads this project. Click here for the latest. cover crops and termination dates – Sadeghpour
Understanding the influence of tile depth and spacing on nutrient loss – does depth or distance count for something? Research under way by Dr. Rabin Bhattarai from the University of Illinois leads a study investigating how tile depth and spacing variations impact nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) losses. The study evaluates current tile drainage design and assesses negative impacts on tile drainage and N and P losses. Click here to download a summary of his current research. How wide, how deep – Bhattarai
Using cover crops shows the potential to reduce nutrient loss, but most of this research has been done at the plot or field scale levels. This project explores whether the use of cover crops can effectively be scaled up to the watershed – not just a field – and whether the addition of cover crops alone, with no other changes in farm management, can improve surface water quality. An overview of Dr. O’Reilly’s research can be found here: Catherine O’Reilly
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.
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.
With harvest winding down in most of Illinois after another year with high to very high yields, it’s time to review some basics of fall fertilization. Neither fertilizer nor grain prices are historically high, so there’s reason to be aware of costs while making sure to cover the nutrient basics.