Rosalie Trump

Mar 07, 2024  |  Today's News |  ICGA |  ICMB |  Conservation |  Precision Conservation Management

Precision Conservation Management (PCM), a program of IL Corn and the Illinois Soybean Association, released a new cover crop guidebook this month in Prairie Farmer Magazine. PCM has conducted several data analyses of enrolled farmers and cover crop use since 2016. For this booklet, they compiled data and personal experiences of the most profitable PCM farmers using cover crops to share insights with farmers new to the conservation practice.

According to Laura Gentry, Director of Water Quality, “Cover crops remain the best conservation practice in the organic rich soils of the Midwest where nutrient loss, soil health, and climate change are concerns. Many farmers have also seen agronomic benefits related to weed control, water infiltration, and protection during crop-loss weather events. Still, there are hindrances to cover crop adoption, including the decision fatigue associated with identifying the right combination of species, planting methods, herbicide treatments, and termination timing.”


PCM’s new guidebook titled Managing Risks with Cover Crops aims to help farmers understand how to use cover crops without sacrificing profitability. Through data and interviews, the information in this guidebook covers:

  1. Key factors to maintaining profitability when implementing cover crops
  2. Cover crop species selection
  3. Recommended starter programs for farmers new to cover crops
  4. Budgets and potential income from programs like PCM, EQIP, and carbon markets

“Farmers should try cover crops to get a head of fertilizer regulations. Try it on small acreage dedicating the program to a long-term program,” said Steve Staker, a farmer from Aledo, IL.


PCM was created in response to the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy in 2016, which aims to reduce both nitrogen and total phosphorus loads in local watersheds and downstream. With interim goals of a 15% nitrogen decrease and a 25% total phosphorus decrease by 2025, Illinois farmers need to continue working towards reduced nutrient runoff through both in-field and edge-of-field practices to avoid additional regulation.


The PCM program is available in regions throughout Illinois, Nebraska and Kentucky with various incentive programs for cover crops and other conservation practices. Reach out to your regional specialist to learn more. View a digital copy of PCM’s new guidebook Managing Risks with Cover Crops here.  


A Farmdoc webinar detailing data and insights from the new cover crop guide will be held on April 4th. Register for the webinar here.



For media inquiries, please contact: Rosalie Trump – – 815-751-6145

About Precision Conservation Management (PCM)

Precision Conservation Management (PCM) is the premier conservation program of the IL Corn Growers Association and Illinois Soybean Association. PCM provides data-driven conservation recommendations and on-the-ground support for farmers in Illinois, Nebraska and Kentucky. Visit to learn more.