“Considering Cover Crops?” is a newly-published resource for Illinois farmers that provides a comprehensive guide to the most recent research and intelligence for effectively incorporating a cover crop ahead of corn, soybeans, and wheat. The Guide outlines comprehensive tactics for cover crop use as part of a nutrient management strategy. Research results from planting to termination of cover crops are included.
With funding from the Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council (NREC), researchers from the University of Illinois, Illinois State University and Purdue University are studying the various variables involved in a successful cover crop program. This research has been performed at an on-farm, field-scale level in several locations across Illinois and over multiple years. Researchers have planted cereal rye as a cover crop because it is easy to establish, hardy and easy to terminate – but emphasize that the same principles associated with rye can be used with wheat or winter barley as a cover crop.
The publication offers recommendations, observations, and advice to Illinois farmers on choice of cover crop, plus the timing of seeding and termination. The guide also features detailed photos that clearly illustrate the production practices being discussed.
As defined in the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, Illinois has a target of reducing nitrogen (N) losses by 410 million pounds and P losses by 38 million pounds by 2025. Cover crops are identified as an important tool in meeting that target. NREC’s investment in this research helps to support the collaboration across the agricultural industry, environmental groups, and engaged stakeholders.
The 12-page guide is available for download from the Illinois NREC website at https://www.illinoisnrec.org/cover-crop-guide-2-0/. Printed copies can be requested by emailing Julie.email@example.com.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) in conjunction with the University of Illinois Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) is now offering the option to take pesticide applicator and operator exams online. All exams are proctored through an exam proctoring service to be compliant with federal certification and licensing guidelines.
The cost for a three-year license remains unchanged, however online testing will include a $12 fee that is paid directly to the proctoring service. For more information or to enroll for an exam, please visit https://extension.illinois.edu/psep/training-testing.
In place of traditional in-person pesticide training, the University of Illinois PSEP offers supplemental online training courses to prepare applicators and operators for their exams. For more information visit https://extension.illinois.edu/psep.
For those needing an alternative to online testing, IDOA is offering small capacity, in-person testing for all pesticide exams. Due to COVID social-distancing requirements and occupancy restrictions, there will be limited availability of in-person testing sessions. Please check the IDOA website often at https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/agr/Pesticides/Pages/default.aspx as occupancy restrictions and location availability may change frequently.
For the latest information and resources visit COVID-19 Resources.
The Soil Health Partnership is currently enrolling farmers for their five-year transition program in Boone, Dekalb, Lee, Ogle, and Winnebago counties! This program is one of the first NRCS On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials awarded in Illinois, led by the Soil Health Partnership (National Corn Grower Association) and Precision Conservation Management (Illinois Corn Growers Association). Our two programs have partnered together to provide farmers the best economic, agronomic and environmental information for transitioning to a soil health system unique to their operation.
They are looking for farmers new to cover crops! This trial focuses on fields that have never had a cover crop application before and provides the learning experience to understand the benefits and challenges to cover crop management. Farmers who are enrolled in this program are also meet with a network of experienced cover crop farmers across the state. This network provides a learning community integral to understanding the variety of approaches to what a soil health system looks like in Illinois.
For additional information, contact: Abigail Peterson, CCA, Illinois and Missouri Field Manager at (815) 973-2478. Brochure
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