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Local Research On Soil Nutrient Management Presented At SIU's Ag Field Day

 SIU AG Field Day Tour
Benjy Jeffords
/
WSIU
SIU AG Field Day Tour

SIU's University Farms hosts an Ag Field Day each year. This year, guests came to Carbondale to learn more about soil management.

The SIU College of Agricultural, Life and Physical Sciences hosted around 100 guests to present research and the latest trends in agriculture.

One presentation was on preventing soil erosion and chemical run off into water sheds.

University Farms Program Director Chris Vick says some of the research involves taking care of the environment.

“Nitrogen and phosphorus loss into our streams, which is which is going down to rivers causing hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico, so farmers are being we're ahead it we're trying to be ahead of the curve and be good stewards of our environment and of our soils and trying to manage our crops. Well, we're not causing any kind of environmental impact.”

Vick says farm land should have something growing year round by implementing the use of cover crops in between cash crops like corn or soy beans as a way to prevent environmental damage.

“It's in runoff by soil erosion is one thing. Another thing is over application of fertilizers that so we want to make sure we're just putting enough fertilizer to have a good crop. But not excerpts of Mount's are going to end up in our stream bank and the cover crops help with that because by planting cover crops, we are capturing those nutrients in that cover crop and not letting them go into the streams.”

During the field day professors gave presentations about their research on herbicide use, nitrogen management, cover crops and more.

Nat from presentation: “Those cover crops are providing ground cover right, so we should expect to see less erosion at a water shed scale not just a plot scale and we’re seeing that now.”

The Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council funds agricultural research at Illinois universities.

Illinois N-REC Association Chairman Jeff Kirwan says this research is important because they share the information to help farmers increase their yield.

“We provide research for universities and people throughout the state of Illinois looking at water quality issues, nutrient management, and a lot of those topics that are really, you know, important right now.”

Kirwan says the agricultural research they fund is paid for by famers and almost one hundred percent of that funding goes to research.

“We are funded through an assessment on the fertilizer that sold in the state at 75 cents and so that is what we use for our funding mechanism to provide, you know, universities like SIU money to look at different aspects of agriculture and what and some of the water quality and nutrient management issues that we're faced with.”

Vick says farmers in different parts of the state face different problems.

“N-REC funds things in northern central Illinois and we they have funding in southern Illinois because obviously our soil types and topography are much different than they are in central Illinois in the champagne area.”

Kirwan says N-REC has funded more than one million dollars in research at SIU over the last year.

“We have a lot of different universities and that that are looking at projects that we work with. And but it can be, you know, referenced throughout the state to meet the needs and the differences in the soils and other things that the people are trying to manage.”

Some of those projects are studied for many years.

“We’re funded a project here; I think three to four years ago in looking at gypsum and how to use that properly. And I mean, that was something that actually was, you know, asked from the Southern Illinois, you know, farmers and it was something that we were able to look at.”

The professors are seeing results from their research in the field and in the lab.

Nat of presentation: “This is our gypsum project, so we’ve applied gypsum now twice, this is our first trial back in December 2018, we applied it and these are the results through 2019. When we did a phosphorus fertilization that just swamped out. What you saw in that first five month six month period is what we hope to see, but you never know what’s going to happen that’s why it’s research right.”

Nat of presentation: “We have a number of projects in our lab that focus on integrated weed management, so we’re trying to put the chemical tactics together with other things to increase the types of selection pressure on the weeds.”

Kirwan says he looks forward to seeing the results from the research N-REC funds.

“This is one of those events that I really do like to come down and see you, because it gives me a new perspective of southern Illinois and some of the different challenges that are that we address down here.”

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