What is the BMP CHALLENGE?
BMP CHALLENGE programs work to give farmers an opportunity to test
reduced nutrient and tillage rates on their fields, without worrying
about loss to their income. The
program uses a side-by-side comparison method of the BMP against the
producer’s traditional method. If
the producer’s net income declines the CHALLENGE provides
compensation, providing a risk-free opportunity for producers to learn
and experiment with new techniques.
Who is eligible for the BMP CHALLENGE?
producers producing corn for grain or silage in Delaware, Idaho, Illinois,
Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont or Wisconsin can participate in BMP CHALLENGE. Additional
states can be added if there is interest.
Producers must also be
NRCS EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) eligible,
which includes not exceeding their $450,000 Payment Limitation, not
exceeding the Adjusted Gross Income provision, and complying with the
Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and Wetlands Conservation provisions.
the BMP CHALLENGE cost producers money?
the BMP CHALLENGE does not have any fees associated with the
program for participation. However,
if a producer receives a
positive net return at the
end of the growing season from the enrolled field, the farmer is asked
to contribute 1/3 of the gain (up to $6/acre.) This payment helps
ensure that the BMP CHALLENGE will continue to be available to farmers
across the corn belt.
What happens if the BMP yield is less
than the conventional yield?
yield in the BMP field balance is less
than the check strip, and the net
returns is negative, the BMP CHALLENGE will compensate any loss.
Loss is based off the difference of the BMP and conventional yields,
minus any fertilizer or tillage savings.
What are farmer
contributions and how are they calculated?
contributions are payments by producers who experienced a positive
net return on their BMP CHALLENGE field. They are calculated
by comparing the BMP and conventional yields, then adding any
fertilizer or tillage savings (see below). We ask that
producers give back 1/3 of their positive net return, up to $6/acre,
to help sustain the project.
Contribution = ((BMP yield – Conventional yield) x $5.68/bu)
+ Savings) x 0.33
is the deadline to apply for the BMP CHALLENGE?
must be received before the fertilizer application or tillage
operations for the current growing season. Please see fall nutrient
application question below for more information. Early application to
the BMP CHALLENGE is encouraged, as applications will be reviewed on a
Can manure be used with
the Nutrient BMP CHALLENGE® program?
manure may be used with the Nutrient BMP CHALLENGE® program. We
ask that farmers have their manure tested, use previous years’
testing data, or use university book rates for the particular manure
type. Recommendations for
utilizing manure may vary based on your state or location, so please
follow the recommendations appropriate for your area. Any
additional commercial fertilizer applications should not exceed BMP
rates when added with any manure credits. For optimum use of
manure nutrients, manure management should be discussed with a crop
If nutrients were applied in the fall, can the
field still be enrolled?
receiving commercial fertilizer applications in the fall are generally
not eligible for the BMP CHALLENGE. Exceptions may be made where
fall application is considered a Best Management Practice by
Extension, and where other conditions are met (ex: when the
application is made after soil temperatures are below the recommended
temperatures and/or a nitrification inhibitor is used). Please contact us regarding eligibility of fall-fertilized
How can watershed and conservation districts use BMP
CHALLENGE can be used to support your conservation work. The farmer income guarantee provided by the BMP CHALLENGE gives you a
powerful tool to reach those farmers who have not yet adopted nutrient
management or reduced tillage. For
more information, please contact our office at (608) 232-1425.
What is the role of the
advisors are key to the BMP CHALLENGE in several ways. First,
they can help identify farmers who could benefit by reducing tillage
and/or nutrient application rates.
They also act as knowledgeable guides for producers,
helping them to understand BMPs and local conservation issues,
recommending appropriate nutrient application rates and tillage
systems, and helping to ensure that these are implemented properly.
Finally, crop advisors provide third-party verification of BMP
implementation and yield harvesting, overseeing yield and net
Are there crop advisors
available through the BMP CHALLENGE?
can help connect you with local crop advisors if needed. Watershed programs, conservation
districts and University/Extension staff may also be able to fill the
crop advisor role.
Are there incentives for
the crop advisors?
crop advisors can receive incentives for each producer they work with
to implement the BMP CHALLENGE. Contact us for more information.
In your brochure it talks about managing both sides exactly the same. If
a grower tills his conventional strip and uses burn down in the
no-till area, the no-till uses the burn down as a replacement to the
conventional area. How precise is the management of the system
required to be?
the herbicide application, the tillage pass would serve as the weed
control prior to planting for the conventional strip as the burn down
kills weeds for the reduced tillage area. Therefore, there would be no
need for the burn down application in the tilled area. If the farmer
is applying a residual with the burn down, I think it would be
desirable to apply the residual to both the tilled and reduced tillage
also assume that based on this if you use starter on one you use it on
both the tilled and no-till.
would also like the grower to apply starter to both areas if they plan
to use some type of starter fertilizer.
and when is the price per bushel or ton set?
price per bushel or ton is set based on the USDA for APH crop insurance
policies. The price is set after the USDA Risk Management Agency
results of the price elections for corn are posted on the RMA website. Current prices are listed below.
Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin
Nebraska, Ohio, Missouri
Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Vermont, New York
California and Idaho
a producer do the Nutrient BMP CHALLENGE by changing application levels of more than one of the three main nutrients (N, P & K)?
producer can only change the application levels of one of the nutrients. Most past participants varied the
application of nitrogen while keeping phosphorus and potassium
If a grower did variable
rate strip till fertilizing, with no other tillage, could the grower
participate in the Reduced Tillage BMP CHALLENGE®?
criteria for Reduced Tillage is simply greater than 30% surface
residue after planting. Strip till, ridge till, no till or any reduced
tillage system included in university recommendations for the state
will work, as long as it meets the residue requirement. We would also
consider other advanced or experimental Reduced Tillage systems that
may not be in university recommendations if they meet that residue
the BMP CHALLENGE allow a farmer to utilize the Nutrient Management
from EQIP and also from the BMP CHALLENGE?
producers can participate in the BMP CHALLENGE and other NRCS
incentives. To participate in the BMP CHALLENGE, producers must be
EQIP eligible, e.g., not have exceeded their maximum payment limit for
the BMP CHALLENGE part of EQIP or something that will be part of an EQIP
the BMP CHALLENGE is funded through the Conservation Innovation Grant
Program, a part of EQIP, participation by growers is entirely separate
from and would not affect their EQIP contract. Growers could have many
more acres in their EQIP contract, but sign up for a smaller amount of
acres for the BMP CHALLENGE (up to the 100 acre limit).