The Illinois Organic Systems Trial compares 3-year and 4-year crop rotations and N-fertility treatments and a 10-acre organic nursery where food-grade corn is trialed in plots maintained in a 3-year rotation.
Organic transition began in 2018 and the site was certified organic in 2021. To our knowledge this is the first and only certified organic land 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). A corn nursery has been grown since 2018, a soybean trial was grown in 2017 in another location that was in organic transition and, small grain trials will be initiated this 2023 season. Dr. Martin Bohn in the Department of Crop Sciences manages the organic maize nursery.