The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), Iowa State University (ISU) and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), jointly announced that the online dashboards that report the results of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy have been updated to reflect the latest reporting period showing that adoption of conservation practices continues to increase, and progress is expected to continue to build over the next decade as water quality and conservation practice implementation accelerate.

Some highlights from the updated dashboards include:

  • Estimates from more than a decade ago suggest that there were as few as 10,000 acres of cover crops planted in the state. In 2021, the number jumped to more than 2.8 million acres.
  • The cumulative number of acres protected by edge-of-field practices, including saturated buffers and bioreactors, is 194 times higher in 2021 than it was in 2011.  
  • The cumulative number of acres protected by wetlands has grown from 2,500 to 139,200 acres. 
  • The cumulative acres in Iowa protected by structural erosion control practices continues to grow. These practices include terraces, ponds, grade stabilization structures, and water and sediment control basins. From 2011 to 2021, an additional 290,000 acres have been protected by these practices. 
  • Iowa farmers’ utilization of no-till on crop acres has grown from 6.2 million acres in 2010 to 9.5 million acres in 2021.
  • The flow-weighted nitrate load in 2021 was at its lowest level over the monitoring period from 2000-2021.

For additional information about the updated dashboards click here.