Precision Conservation Management Releases 2022 Conservation and Financial Data

Lindsay Mitchell

Jun 08, 2022  |  Today's News |  ICGA |  ICMB |  Conservation |  Precision Conservation Management

Precision Conservation Management (PCM), a program of IL Corn and the Illinois Soybean Association, released their annual “Business Case for Conservation” this month in the Prairie Farmer magazine. The Precision Conservation Management program was created by farmers, for farmers, to assist in the evaluation of on-farm conservation decisions.


The 2022 report highlights include several recommendations around nitrogen application and tillage management.


The most important take-home messages:

  1. Including all the data in the PCM dataset, applying nitrogen over MRTN rates never a profitable system. If you are applying more nitrogen than is recommended by MRTN, you are losing money on that nitrogen investment AND likely causing a negative impact on your environment.
  2. The most profitable acres in the PCM dataset are utilizing preplant and sidedress nitrogen applications at MRTN rates. If you are still fall-applying nitrogen, consider moving to a different management system for 2023.
  3. More than two heavy tillage passes is never more profitable than other tillage management systems in the PCM dataset. If you are utilizing heavy tillage, consider moving to lighter tillage systems like strip tillage for the next crop year.


The report also concludes that cover crops continue to be the most important and impactful conservation practice available to farmers, though it is not always the most profitable. PCM recommends that all farmers apply for cover crop grants or cost-sharing programs to offset the cost of the new practice.


Within our dataset, cover crop acres are still minimal and farmers utilizing the practice are relatively inexperienced. As our dataset grows and farmers learn what will work in their regions of Illinois, we expect to see cover crops as a business practice become more and more profitable.


Please review the PCM 2022 Business Case for Conservation in full here.