Commitment to Farming Sustainably

Illinois soybean farmers are committed to finding new ways to implement Best Management Practices designed to reduce environmental impacts.

Reduced Footprint, Improved Production

The environmental landscape in Illinois is changing. While growers remain committed to improving their yields and on-farm profitability, they also are implementing a host of new Best Management Practices to improve the efficiency of the nutrients they use. The benefits are many, including improved soil health and reduced runoff, which is good news for Illinois waterways and downstream waters like the Gulf of Mexico. 

Over the past 20 years Illinois yields have been increasing, thanks to improved soybean varieties and management practices. These higher yields translate to more production per acre, allowing growers to retire more fragile lands into conservation reserves. In fact, Illinois farmers have converted more than half a million acres from farmland to wetlands in the last twenty years.
Our state’s farmers also have increased cover crop acres by 64% since 2010.

New soybean varieties and management practices– often the subject of research programs sponsored by ISA– play an important role in decreasing the soybean production footprint. 

  • Advances include innovations such as precision management of cover crops to improve soil quality and water infiltration. 
  • Reduced tillage systems also work to protect soils, reduce runoff and decrease fuel use and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • By splitting nutrient applications to provide nutrients just as the plant needs them, growers are making important changes that are good for the environment and their farming operations. 

Even seemingly simple changes like narrowing row width to help reduce weed pressure and capture more sunlight earlier in the season are important to maximizing crop yields while minimizing environmental impacts. 

 

Illinois Soybean Farmers Improve Environmental Efficiency

Thanks to the Field Print Calculator provided by Field to Market, we can see how these changes translate into reduced environmental impact. View a detailed report to compare the success of Illinois growers to progress being made nationwide.