Farm Progress

Bring a water sample to the Farm Progress Show for free, confidential testing offered by IL Corn.

Jill Loehr, Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer

May 29, 2017

2 Min Read
WHAT’S FLOWING FROM YOUR TILE LINE? Find out by bringing a water sample to the Farm Progress Show for testing.

Heading to Farm Progress Show this year? Don’t forget your sunglasses, sunscreen and water sample. Water sample? That’s right. Bring a water sample from your property to the Farm Progress Show for free, confidential testing offered by IL Corn.

There’s a lot of ground to cover at the show, but there’s time to squeeze in a quick water-sample test. The nearly instantaneous results show nitrate concentration levels in the water. This snapshot of information can be used to make nutrient management decisions on your farm. IL Corn recommends testing a series of samples throughout the growing season to form a complete picture of nutrient loss throughout the year.

Collect the samples from ditches, drain tile, streams, rivers or ponds. Be sure to label each sample with the water source, date and any other pertinent information for your own personal records.

To participate, farmers and landowners are invited to bring water samples from their property to the IL Corn exhibit at the Farm Progress Show, Aug. 29-31 in Decatur.

Farmers interested in logging nitrate levels right away can visit IL Corn to schedule an appointment or find details on local testing dates. 

Water sample collection instructions
Tricia Braid, IL Corn, says there are a few steps to follow for an accurate water test result. The sample container should be clean and free of any residual chemicals or detergents, and hold at least 8 ounces of water. Take the water sample as close to testing time as possible, and keep it refrigerated or cooled. Freeze water samples if they are not taken within 48 hours of the test, and remove the sample from the freezer when you leave for Farm Progress Show.

For tile line water samples, use a 2-gallon bucket, or another container with a known quantity, and time how many seconds it takes to fill the container. That number will be used to calculate pounds of nitrate loss per day. Be sure to estimate the acres being drained at that collection point so pounds per acre per day can be calculated.

This is not intended for well-water testing. The equipment is not certified to provide adequate response for well-water/drinking water assessment purposes. Contact your local health department for information on drinking water testing.

About the Author(s)

Jill Loehr

Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer, Loehr

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