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AFT's Environmental Solutions
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Overview of the
BMP Challenge

BMP Challenge for Nutrient Management BMP Challenge for Reduced Tillage BMP Challenge for Reduced Nitrogen

AFT's BMP Challenge For Reduced Tillage

Conventional tillage methods can have a negative impact on air quality and cause soil erosion. Using reduced tillage practices, farmers burn less fossil fuels and help lessen the release of greenhouse gases by allowing the land to store more carbon dioxide in the soil and lessen soil runoff into lakes, rivers and streams.

AFT's innovative solution, the BMP (Best Management Practices) Challenge, makes it easier for farmers to reduce tillage while being protected from potential loss of income. Participating farmers can test BMPs that have been developed to save money and maintain optimal yields while protecting our water and soil.

How Does the BMP Challenge for Reduced Tillage Work?

BMPs are designed to save farmers money. Recommendations are made based on field history and soil test results to cut fertilizer costs while maintaining yield. 

  1. BMP Challenge check stripFarmers enroll one or more fields—before applying commercial fertilizer—up to 160 acres per farm.
  2. Crop advisor prepares recommendation.
  3. Farmer applies traditional practice to check strip. On the balance of the field, the new practices are applied.
  4. Farmer manages the entire field the same way. At harvest, farmer and crop advisor assess yield v. check strip.
  5. Farmer is paid if there is a loss in yield minus fertilizer savings.

Farmers will earn at least as much as using typical tillage practices, and in most years, will make a profit. Participants help us expand the BMP Challenge to more farmers by reinvesting a portion of their savings up to $6/acre back into the program.

The BMP Challenge is backed by a commercial service agreement provided by Agflex, an Iowa corporation. Agflex is not an insurance company and does not sell insurance. The CHALLENGE is not insurance and pays you only for losses due to reduced tillage.

BMP Challenge for Reduced Tillage Side-By-Side Comparison

Example, Corn Grown for Grain:

  Check Strip with Standard Practice Reduced Tillage Practices
Strip set up pass:
Chisel plow pass:
Tandem disk harrow pass:
Field cultivator pass:
Planting pass:
$14.91/acre with starter
Total tillage cost:
$40.72 – $21.19 = $19.53/acre reduced tillage cost savings!
SITUATION 1: Yield Loss with BMP
170 bu/acre
x $2.20/bu
= $374.00/acre
150 bu/acre
x $2.20/bu
= $330.00/acre
Net yield loss:
$374.00 - $330.00 = $44.00/acre yield loss
Net economic return:
$44.00 loss - $19.53 savings = $24.47/acre net loss
$24.47/acre performance guaranty paid to grower
SITUATION 2: Yield Gain with BMP
170 bu/acre
x $2.20/bu
= $374.00/acre
180 bu/acre
x $2.20/bu
= $396.00/acre
Net yield gain:
$396.00 - $374.00 = $22.00/acre yield gain
Net economic return:
$22.00 gain + $19.53 savings = $41.53/acre net gain
$41.53/acre gain - $6.00/acre contribution= $37.03/acre net gain or
$3,703 on a 100 acre field!


American Farmland Trust