“Over time, long-term benefits also accrue. ‘My tile waters are clear, with lower levels of nitrates, due to cereal rye uptake,’ says Dick Lyons of Harvel, Illinois, who started no-tilling corn in 1976 and soybeans in 1996. He’s on year seven of blanketing all his acres with cover crops. Lyons also variable-rate applies fertilizer.
Besides reducing runoff, such tactics also retain nutrients for crops, says Eliot Clay, agriculture and water programs director for the Illinois Environmental Council. ‘If you can get your soil to hold more nitrogen and phosphorus, it is better than having it run off,’ he points out.”
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