With harvest winding down, dry fertilizer application is underway. When it comes to the application of fall nitrogen, we can ensure the future of this practice by adhering to sound stewardship and agronomic guidelines.

Please click here to be directed to the IFCA website, where we have a link to soil temperatures in Illinois.

The UI Agronomy Handbook recommends that fall N not be applied until the soil temperatures fall to 50 degrees; you should refer to the maximum daily soil temperature at the 4 inch level.

The Illinois Council on Best Management Practices (CBMP) recommends use of a nitrogen stabilizer with all fall-applied nitrogen.

We also have a new tri-fold brochure that features information on split nitrogen applications as a way to minimize environmental impact, optimize harvest yield and maximize input utilization (we refer to this approach as MOM).

In the spring of 2013, surface water supplies that serve many central Illinois cities had nitrate levels of serious concern, causing some cities to undergo treatment in order to get below the 10 ppm drinking water standard. Those without treatment came very close to having to supply bottled water to pregnant women and children.

Illinois agriculture, through CBMP and the "Keep it for the Crop" program is engaging retailers and farmers in these watersheds to take concerted stewardship efforts to assure that the nitrogen applied is protected in every way possible to keep it for the crop and out of the water systems.

The pressure on agriculture to reduce nutrient losses is extreme; we cannot understate the importance of IFCA members and your farmer customers doing the best job possible to demonstrate that we are leaders in nutrient stewardship and can manage our nutrients without over burdensome regulations on our industry.

If you have questions about fall nitrogen stewardship or nutrient issues, please contact IFCA.

For more information about CBMP and the KIC program, go to www.illinoiscbmp.org.