The objective of the Illinois Organic Project is to investigate plant-soil interactions within organic grain cropping systems. The study includes a replicated trial with a 3-year and a 4-year crop rotation and three N-fertility treatments. All phases of each rotation grown each year. Additionally the project includes a 10-acre organic nursery where food-grade organic grain crops are trialed under a 3-year rotation.
In its first three years from 2018 to 2020, the Illinois Organic Project has focused on the organic transition period. The project will obtain organic certification in 2021. Going forward the project will continue to conduct organic cropping systems research.
The Illinois Organic Project is funded by the Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture Program at the University of Illinois.
The replicated trial has a split plot design with the two rotations as main plots and the three fertility treatments as split plots. Different colors in the plot diagram below represent different rotation entry points.
3-year rotation: corn/rye-soybeans-small grain/red clover
4-year rotation: corn/rye-soybeans-small grain-pasture mix
The organic nursery is divided into 3 plots, each approximately 3.2 acres (135 ft N-S by 960 ft E-W). Currently only corn is grown, but eventually soybeans and small grain will be added and the nursery will be maintained under the 3-year rotation of corn-soybeans-small grain.