Illinois NREC annually seeks proposals and their priority is funding projects that examine, test and measure the effectiveness and economic viability of farming practices that will reduce losses of nitrogen and phosphorus to water without being detrimental to agricultural production or yield.
RFP’s are issued at the beginning of August each year and proposals are due by October 2nd. Award decisions are made in mid-December.
2019 Research Priorities as Identified by Illinois NREC
Nitrogen and Phosphorus Management Projects
1 Continue studies testing the impact of N management systems on efficiency of N use.
- Scale the work on optimum N rate to include more Illinois soil types, especially in Southern Illinois.
- Evaluate the efficacy of combinations of 4R practices on N efficiency
- Evaluate the potential for N loss from surface applied UAN
2 Cover Crops: Evaluate the feasibility, economics, water quality impacts and best management practices of growing cover crops to address nitrogen and phosphorus loss as well as crop productivity. Best management practices should look at all aspects of cover crops from crop selection, seeding and grazing, through crop termination. There is particular interest in better understanding factors that influence the time and rate of N release by cover crop residue.
3 Evaluate the agronomic and environmental benefits of tillage/erosion control and the placement and timing of phosphorus applications throughout the entire state, but with special emphasis on Southern Illinois soils.
Tile and Conservation Systems
4 Drainage: Evaluate drainage water management and erosion control practices (i.e. sediment basins) from both a nutrient management and agronomic standpoint.
5 Edge of Field Practices (Bioreactors, Buffers, Saturated Buffers, Constructed Wetlands): An evaluation of practical approaches to installing these systems in areas where drainage ditches are the conduit for tile drainage. Focus should be on ways to utilize these systems to provide the most practical benefit while limiting the amount of land taken out of production.
Innovative Approaches to Nutrient Management
6 NREC is also very interested in research projects that go beyond the “known” into innovative and forward-looking research.