Things are finally cold enough that for most of us, the water is frozen by now. When you’re tiles are running again, you may want to take a sample in for nitrate testing. The water quality testing is free at participating locations, and it’s also confidential. Illinois Corn is partnering with the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts to make the testing available to you. Know how much you’re losing per acre is a key to making management decisions on your farm. Keep reading to find out more about the testing program.
You can find a full list of the water quality testing sites, and their testing schedules on the CBMP website at http://illinoiscbmp.org/Water-Testing/.
At the same site, you’ll find sampling instructions that will help you estimate flow. Without flow estimations, you’ll receive a concentration of nitrates (10ppm is the drinking water standard) but we won’t be able to help you translate that number into a pounds per acre loss estimation.
So you don’t think now is a good time to test? Maybe it’s not the best indicator BUT, if you practice now while you have time, you’ll be better situated for regular testing later in the season. We know that each test is just a snapshot in time. But when you start layering information, you can better understand how weather and your farming practices are impacting nutrient loss on your farm?
What’s Your Strategy? To manage nutrient loss? Until you know what you’re losing, it’s hard to formulate the best strategy. Contact Caroline Wade at the IL Corn office for more information or to ask your questions about our free, confidential water quality testing program.