ESTIMATING SUSTAINABILITY OF CORN STOVER REMOVAL FOR BIOMASS ETHANOL PRODUCTION IN SELECTED CORN BELT SITES
2010 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1) Develop a summary of published and unpublished data on the impact of corn residue (stover) removal on future crop yield and soil quality.
2) Define and establish field experiment (specific to candidate locations for biomass ethanol plants) to assessing the impact of corn residue removal on future crop yield and soil quality.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Objective 1: ARS and Idaho National Lab (INL) will jointly prepare and publish an assessment of the impact of corn stover removal on future soil quality (SOC content and soil function) and crop productivity by summarizing literature, conducting new analysis of previously reported data and unpublished data from ARS experiments conducted in area of the Corn Belt identified by DOE as likely locations for the first biomass ethanol production facilities (biorefineries).
Objective 2: Plan, design, and implement long-term experiments to verify the analyses conducted and reported under Objective 1. These studies will be composed of new experiments or modified existing experiments, depending on location, factors under investigation, and historical and current data collection schedules and procedures.
The effects of residue removal on the soil resource continue to be evaluated two studies, one irrigated and one rainfed. Grain and biomass yields in 2009 were excellent in the irrigated study, but residue removal had no effect. Results from the rainfed study were similar with no effect of residue removal, but grain and stover yields were much lower. Residue removal treatments were again implemented in these studies. One published manuscript reported on the effect of CRP type land conversion after 6 years of no-till continuous corn on soil organic matter (soil carbon). The results indicated soil organic matter levels could be maintained when no-till methods were used to produce corn on these soils. ADODR monitoring was done via phone calls and e-mail.