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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy

Illinois is in the process of  implementing a nutrient  reduction strategy.  The strategy is voluntary at least for now.  Illinois Council on Best Management Practices  has links and information.  IEPA has the information too and they are accepting comments.  The document is loaded with information about nutrient loads in Illinois waters. 

They are suggesting that nitrogen loss can be reduced by having farmers use the Nrate calculator to determine N rates.  They would also like to see more use of nitrification and urease inhibitors.  Cover crops are also part of the strategy.  In addition, sidedress applications are to be encouraged. 

Bioreactors, wetlands, drainage management,  and buffers on field edges are also part of the strategy.

Soil Test Phosphorous levels have been found to be higher than necessary for maximum yield in 595 of Illinois fields.  One goal is to reduce that level by adding less phosphorous.  Reducing soil erosion is also a big part of the strategy. Poultry and hog farmers will need to distribute their nutrients further from the source in order to reduce Phosphorous loss. 

The strategy lists the traditional programs available for implementation of practices need to reduce nutrient losses in Illinois.  My opinion is that farmers will need to rely on their consultants and suppliers to make a serious dent in nutrient reduction. I do not see enough money in the programs listed to have a serious impact. We all need to work together on the goals.  We need those agencies who developed the strategies to publicize the need for implementation. 

I hope you will take time to comment to IEPA. 

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