The Illinois EPA recently held a Nutrient Summit bringing together state agencies, universities, municipalities, agriculture and environmental activists. USEPA is forcing states to set water quality standards for nitrogen and phosphorus in streams that will severely challenge agriculture, municipalities and other industries. Most of these developments have been driven by lawsuits filed by environmental groups, similar to the lawsuits that resulted in the NPDES permit for pesticides.
IFCA is involved along with other ag organizations in helping to develop a statewide strategy on reducing nutrient losses. This does not necessarily mean reducing fertilizer rates, but it may call for broad-based approaches on nutrient management such as split applications and most certainly, not putting on any nitrogen in the fall until the soil temperatures are appropriate. We support voluntary practices by the industry and by growers vs. regulation, but there are many groups who have made it clear they intend to sue in order to further control nutrient use.
WIth all this going on in the background, we must all adhere to the U of I guidelines for fall applied ammonia. We don't have regulations but we do have peer pressure and we must keep the ammonia tanks out of the fields until the soil temperatures fall. You can view the daily soil temperatures at www.ifca.com.