4R Farming

No-Till Corn Illinois

This family farm located in central Illinois is managed by a young farmer who was an early adopter of the 4Rs. Seeing the benefits of these practices and willing to make investments in the farm, the family made advanced leaps in adoption of 4R practices and saw immediate returns.

When moving from basic to advanced 4R practices the total cost per acre to implement 4R practices decreased due to reduced fertilizer and equipment costs. Operation cost of an in-season sprayer and use of a smaller tractor for in-season nitrogen injection also lowered costs.

The time spent per acre implementing 4R practices was 0.21 hours per acre for basic practices compared to 0.22 with advanced practices, due to more fertilizer applications per season.

Outcome

Changing from basic to more advanced 4R practices, the farmer decreased cost per acre between $16.49 and $25.31, while also decreasing CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions by 34.7 percent.

Cost of 4R Practice Implementation for Illinois No-Till Corn

Grid based variable rates


Zone based variable rates

Grid-Based Variable Rate

On all fields:

  • Fall variable rate application of MAP and potash based on grid soil sampling and yield data
  • Variable rate seeding based on soil tests and yield maps 

2014 – Basic 

  • Spring pre-plant anhydrous ammonia injected with nitrification inhibitor
  • Liquid starter with seed (6-24-6 at 3.5 gallons per acre)
  • Early-post with herbicides nitrogen application (32 percent UAN at 10 gallons per acre)
  • Liquid nitrogen side-dress with y-drops (32 percent UAN)

2015 – Basic

  • Spring pre-plant anhydrous ammonia injected with nitrification inhibitor
  • Liquid starter with seed (6-24-6 at 3.5 gallons per acre)
  • Early-post with herbicides nitrogen application (32 percent UAN at 10 gallons per acre)
  • Liquid nitrogen side-dress with y-drops (32 percent UAN)

2016 – Intermediate

  • Liquid starter with seed (6-24-6 at 3.5 gallons per acre)
  • Early-Post with herbicides nitrogen application (32 percent UAN at 10 gallons per acre)
  • Side-dress anhydrous ammonia injected with nitrification inhibitors

2017 – Advanced

  • Liquid starter with seed (6-24-6 at 3.5 gallons per acre)
  • Early-post with herbicides nitrogen application (32 percent UAN at 10 gallons per acre)
  • Side-dress anhydrous ammonia injected with nitrification inhibitors
  • Liquid nitrogen side-dress with y-drops (Corn stage V10; 32 percent UAN with variable rate application)

Zone-Based Variable Rate

On all fields:

  • Fall variable rate application of MAP and potash based on grid soil sampling and yield data
  • Variable rate seeding based on zones and incorporating use of software for in-season decisions

2014 – Basic 

  • Spring pre-plant anhydrous ammonia injected with nitrification inhibitor
  • Liquid starter with seed (6-24-6 at 3.5 gallons per acre)
  • Early-post with herbicides nitrogen application (32 percent UAN at 10 gallons per acre)
  • Liquid nitrogen side-dress with y-drops (32 percent UAN)

2015 – Basic

  • Spring pre-plant anhydrous ammonia injected with nitrification inhibitor
  • Liquid starter with seed (6-24-6 at 3.5 gallons per acre)
  • Early-post with herbicides nitrogen application (32 percent UAN at 10 gallons per acre)
  • Liquid nitrogen side-dress with y-drops (32 percent UAN)

2016 – Intermediate

  • Liquid starter with seed (6-24-6 at 3.5 gallons per acre)
  • Early-post with herbicides nitrogen application (32 percent UAN at 10 gallons per acre)
  • Side-dress anhydrous ammonia injected with nitrification inhibitors

2017 – Advanced

  • Liquid starter with seed (6-24-6 at 3.5 gallons per acre)
  • Early-Post with herbicides nitrogen application (32 percent UAN at 10 gallons per acre)
  • Side-dress anhydrous ammonia injected with nitrification inhibitors
  • Liquid nitrogen side-dress with y-drops (Corn stage V10; 32 percent UAN with variable rate application)

Environmental Metrics