The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS) recognizes cover crops as one of the most effective in-field management strategies to stem the loss of both nitrate-nitrogen and total phosphorus from corn-soybean fields, yet less than 4% of Illinois’ cropland is planted to cover crops annually. Meeting the water quality goals of the NLRS will require 35% to 75% of Illinois’ cropland be protected by cover crops, depending on the suite of conservation practices implemented.

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