Answers to Cover Crop Questions Answered in New NREC Publication

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 www.illinoisnrec.org under Resources/Technical Information. Printed copies can be requested by emailing Julie.armstrong@illinoisnrec.org.

The Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council (NREC) was created by state statute in 2012. Funded by a 75-cent per ton assessment on bulk fertilizer sold in Illinois, NREC provides financial support for nutrient research and education programs to ensure the discovery and adoption of practices that address environmental concerns, optimize nutrient use efficiency, and ensure soil fertility. A 13-member

Download your copy here –