Illinois Corn Growers Association is giving away a new, John Deere Z925M Flex Fuel Zero-Turn lawn mower at the Farm Progress Show, the value of which illustrates the lost nutrient investment in an example farm in the Decatur area.
Decatur, the home of the 2015 Farm Progress Show, falls in the Upper Sangamon watershed. Nitrate-nitrogen losses in the area average 26 pounds per acre on tile-drained land according to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (Strategy).
In the example created by IL Corn for this illustration, an 800 acre tile-drained farm in the Upper Sangamon watershed, losing 26 pounds of nitrogen per year, per acre, at an average purchase price of $0.50 per pound, ends up losing about $10,400 a year in nutrient investment.
As it turns out, that’s about the same value as the starting price on the John Deere mower.
“What we’re really doing here is trying to make a tangible, visual link to the value of lost nutrients,” explained ICGA President Kenneth Hartman. “We all get busy. We know this is important. But if you think you could have a new mower each year if you could capture the value of those nutrients, well that’s a good motivator.”
For Nitrate losses, the Strategy documents reveals that the greatest losses can be expected in tile-drained areas, roughly the northern 2/3rd of Illinois.
“One way to get a good handle on what’s happening on your farms is to do several water tests each year,” explained Hartman. “Those individual tests are just a snap shot in time, but as you accumulate many different snap shots you can start to build a story.”
Illinois Corn, in conjunction with the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices, offers water testing programs. Visit www.illinoiscbmp.org/water-testing for more information. Farmers visiting the Farm Progress Show can visit the IL Corn exhibit and bring a water sample to be tested.
All visitors to the Illinois Corn exhibit space number #355 at Farm Progress Show can register to win the John Deere Z925M Flex Fuel Zero-Turn lawn mower. The winner will be drawn at 2pm on Thursday, September 3. The winner need not be present to win.