In 2021, NREC is funding 34 projects. The $4 Million available for funding these projects comes from an assessment of 75 cents per ton of fertilizer sold in Illinois. Additional funds have been earmarked for communications and outreach projects to ensure that farmers and fertilizer industry professionals are receiving timely updates from the research projects. Council-funded projects fall into three main categories with an emphasis on the 4R’s – applying the right source of fertilizer, at the right rate, right time, and right place, looking at ways to capture nutrients within the field using cover crops, and finally exploring methods of capturing nutrients before they are lost in a way that could potentially impact the environment. The last category focuses on methods such as buffer strips, bio-reactors, and wetlands.

2021 NREC Projects

2021 NREC Funded Research Projects – Project Objectives

Project TitleInstitutionPI2021 Project Budget
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 FieldsPurdueArmstrong $190,437.00
The effect of cover crops on surface water quality: A paired watershed experiment in the Lake Bloomington watershedPurdueArmstrong$211,508.00
Nitrogen placement and application timing for best efficiency, growth, and yield of corn across IllinoisUIBelow $49,610.00
Watershed-scale response of agricultural systems to drainage water management in Central IllinoisUIBhattarai $98,332.00
Assessing tile depth and spacing impact on nutrient losses and crop productionUIBhattarai $49,970.00
Drainage water management and saturated buffers for achieving NLRS goalsUIChristianson $20,581.00
Bioreactors for Illinois: Smaller, Better, FasterUIChristianson $14,715.00
On-Farm Evaluation and Demonstration of Reduced Off-Farm Nutrient Transport through Drainage Water RecyclingUICooke $74,804.00
Web-based Decision Support Tool for Cover Crop ManagementUICoppess $78,000.00
Reducing Nutrient Loads in WASCOBs in Southern IllinoisUIGentry
Evaluating nutrient loss reduction strategies: longer rotation with cover crops and bioreactor (Miller Project)UIGentry
Nitrogen management systems in tile-drained fields: Optimizing yields while minimizing losses (Douglas County Project)UIGentry
Assessing Suitability and Benefits of Cover Crops in IllinoisUIGuan$20,000.00
Towards Management of Dissimilatory Nitrate Reduction to Ammonium for Nitrate Retention in Agricultural SoilsUIKent $90,011.00
Evaluating slow‐release P fertilizers to increase crop production and environmental qualityUIMargenot $41,506.00
Reducing P Loss in Southern Illinois: Producers, Practices, and ProductivityUIR Christianson
Precision Nitrogen Management of Corn for Improving Farm Profitability and Water Quality in Southern IllinoisSIU
Nitrogen Rate Research & NREC Project PartnershipIFCA
Water and Sediment Control Basins (WASCoBs) influence on Crop Yields and Water QualitySIU
Modelling and Designing Saturated Buffers for Nitrogen and Phosphorus Mitigation in IllinoisSIU
Insect Management in Cover Crop SystemsUISeiter
Water quality and agronomic impacts of gypsum applications in Southern IllinoisSIU
Minimizing phosphorus and nitrogen loss from agricultural systems with cover crops and tillage in Southern IllinoisSIU
Designer Biochar to Capture and Recycle Phosphorous from Tile Drainage SystemsUIZheng
Capitalizing on 150 Years of Soil Samples to Determine Legacy P and Improve Water Quality in Illinois
Characterizing sub‐field variability for efficient phosphorus management: targeting hotspots
Managing the maize microbiome for sustainable nutrient retention in Illinois agricultural soils
Next Generation Cover Cropping in Corn-Soybean Rotation to Improve Farm Benefits and Decrease Environmental Losses in South and Central Illinois
Integrating livestock grazing into the western Illinois corn-soybean cropping system to enhance farm profitability and reduce nutrient loss
WIUBernards $84,242.00
Sources and cycling of nitrate in tile‐drained corn‐soybean rotation systems: A stable isotope approach
UIYu $132,475.00
Integrating Tillage, Soil Carbon Dynamics, and Tile Nitrate Loss (Eric Miller)
Detection and attribution of recent changes in phosphorus loadings in the Illinois River watershed
Knowledge is power: Powering up bioreactors and saturated buffers in Illinois
UIL Christianson