For most Illinois farmers, this week’s heavy rainfall will put a significant damper on corn planting, but it does offer a wonderful opportunity to test field water for nutrient runoff.
Free, confidential water testing is available all over the state. Click here to see a list of locations and to find the closest site for you.
A water sample should be in a volume of at least eight ounces (but definitely define the volume of water) and taken in a clean container, free of any residual chemicals or detergents. Collect the water sample as close to testing time as possible, or at least within 48 hours, and refrigerate until testing time. Samples may be frozen and thawed ahead of the testing day to accommodate schedules or when the tile is running.
A complete set of sample collection instructions and a flow calculator can be found on the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices website at www.illinoiscbmp.org/water-testing.
This will be a year of extremely tight margins on your farm. You need to know how much of the nutrients you’ve applied are leaving your farm in the water supply! Water testing is the first step.
If you have additional questions, please call the IL Corn office at 309-558-3257.