The Illinois Council on Best Management Practices (CBMP) today announced funding support of the N-WATCH Sentinel Site Program which helps farmers become more aware of plant-available nitrogen dynamics in the soil environment. CBMP will provide funding for up to 200 N-WATCH Sentinel Sites in eight identified watersheds and up to 100 at-large sites throughout the state. Illinois Corn Growers Association joins several other farmer-led membership organizations and agribusinesses to lead CBMP.
“Before we can minimize the environmental impact of nutrients, we must first have a clear understanding of soil N behavior in a farmer’s field. Improving water quality for everyone is not about reducing N use, it is about increasing N utilization,” said Dr. Howard Brown, director of nutrient management and environmental stewardship for GROWMARK, Inc. “The N-WATCH Sentinel Site Program will provide a way for more farmers to see the impact that tracking soil nitrate and ammonium-N can have on their N management decisions.”
N-WATCH is a management tool that helps farmers manage nitrogen, their second greatest input cost in corn production. Farmers can inventory, track and verify the plant-available nitrogen in the soil at a specific point in a field. This is a strategic piece of information to factor into nitrogen management decisions.
Farmers participating in the N-WATCH Sentinel Site grant permission to their ag retailer to post an unidentifiable abbreviated report of the N-WATCH results to an online community for other farmers to view and learn from. N-WATCH Sentinel Sites will be tested four times between April and harvest.
Farmers can participate through their local ag retailer or ag business. The project sign-up period begins April 13, 2015 and runs through April 30, 2015 or until funding is exhausted. Reimbursements to participating ag retail locations and ag businesses for the establishment of N-WATCH Sentinel Sites (up to five sites at $200/site) will be made after the 2015 harvest (by November 30, 2015). Individual farmers can sign-up at www.nwatchonline.com.
CBMP’s funding has been secured by the Nutrient Research & Education Council. Funding is available for N-WATCH Sentinel Sites statewide and in the following watersheds: Lake Springfield, Evergreen Lake, Lake Bloomington, Vermilion River, Salt Fork Vermilion, Lake Vermilion, Lake Decatur and Lake Mauvaise Terre.
The Illinois Council on Best Management Practices, a non-profit 501-c (5) organization, was formed in 1998. Its mission is to assist and encourage adoption of best management practices to protect and enhance natural resources and the sustainability of agriculture in Illinois. Member organizations include Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Syngenta Crop Protection, Monsanto and GROWMARK.