The Illinois Saving Tomorrow's Agriculture Resources (STAR) program recently wrapped up its third year of spreading conservation efforts and has released its 2021 report.
STAR teaches and inspires farmers, ranchers and landowners to “employ conservation management practices that improve water quality and soil health,” says Megan Schilling, author of this article from Successful Farming. Fields are evaluated individually and ranked on a 5-STAR scale for their conservation practices.
In 2021, STAR reported 472 participants on 89,579 acres over 1,579 fields in Illinois. Among the participating fields, 56% of corn fields were strip-tilled or no-tilled, while 70% of soy fields were strip-tilled or no-tilled.
The report concluded that farms under strip-till and no-till management had kept 47,752 tons of sediment in the field and out of Illinois waterways, kept 14,159 pounds of phosphorus in the field and kept 27,276 tonnes of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere in 1 year.
The STAR program recommends strip-till and no-till systems to limit soil disturbance and restrict operation of highly erodible land. Ninety percent of its top-rated fields are under strip-till or no-till management.