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Cover crops getting new attention in central Illinois

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PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Cover crops are regaining popularity in central Illinois as a way to preserve nutrients in soil and purity in water runoff.
These secondary crops, such as oats, canola and cereal rye, were once planted after the main harvest to provide feed for livestock. But the cover crops are gaining fresh attention for their natural ability to improve soil structure and keep nutrients in place.

 
The voluntary practice is being pushed as part of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, which seeks to keep fertilizer and other agricultural chemicals from running off into the streams and tributaries that feed the state's main waterways.