Updated cover crop guide available for farmers
An updated cover crop guide is being offered to farmers in Illinois interested in reducing nutrient loss with the in-field practice. Farmers can request a copy of the guide from the Nutrient Research and Education Council, or read it digitally.
The report is backed by scientific observations from Shalamar Armstrong, an assistant professor at Purdue University; Lowell Gentry, University of Illinois research scientist; Dan Schaefer, director of nutrient stewardship at the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association; Eric Miller, a Piatt County farmer; and John Pike, an agronomist with Pike Ag Consulting.
The guide recommends cereal rye as a cover crop, though wheat or winter barley are also comparable options. While the focus of the guide is on cereal rye, in part because it produces more vegetation than either wheat or winter barley, the principles the authors review hold true for all three crops.
Using a cereal rye cover crop has proved to meet NREC objectives for nutrient loss on several tile-drained farms in central Illinois that have previously been managed in a conventional corn-soybean rotation system. Cover crops work best in a production system that uses strip till or no-till; reduced tillage also helps to reduce nutrient losses by reducing soil erosion during heavy rain events.
The authors say if the system is widely adopted ahead of a 2025 deadline set by the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, the state could meet its call for a 15% reduction in nitrogen and a 25% reduction in phosphorus losses.
Annual 4R Field Day on Dec. 12
The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association will hold its third 4R Field Day on Dec. 12. The event will be held indoors at the Asmark Agricenter in Bloomington, Ill., but the association will have footage of 4R field practices from this fall to illustrate how nutrient placement can help reduce losses.
The meeting will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and certified crop adviser nutrient management and soil and water credits are available.
Attendees will receive new information on the status of water quality in Illinois rivers, how these levels are measured and attributed to either point or nonpoint sources, and how agriculture’s commitment to the 4 R’s is influencing nutrient loss reductions. The 4 R’s of nutrient application are the right source, right rate, right time to apply and right placement.
Hemp conference planned Nov. 16-17
The Midwest Hemp Council and the Indiana Farmer’s Union hemp chapter are hosting a conference on the emergent crop Nov. 16-17 in Indianapolis. The conference will also feature a hemp trade show.
Headlining is Michael Bowman, First Crop Inc., a public benefit corporation dedicated to expanding regenerative agriculture practices and developing new market opportunities for hemp products grown by American farmers.
Marguerite Bolt, the hemp Extension specialist at Purdue University, is also scheduled to speak.
Tickets range from $20 to $250. The event starts at 10 a.m. on Nov. 16 at Indianapolis Marriott East and ends after 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 17. Register for the event at Eventbrite.
Webinar for employers interested in impacts of marijuana
On Dec. 3, the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois and the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association are hosting a free webinar to provide information to members about legalized marijuana, which goes into effect for the state in Illinois on Jan. 1.
Darren Grady and Heather Bailey, partners at law firm SmithAmundsen, will lead the presentation as they highlight the new Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act and talk through the statutory changes impacting Illinois employers. This discussion will emphasize what employers should do to diminish legal risks and protect their workforce.