2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Determine effects of crop residue removal on soil quality, crop yields, and residue feedstock quality.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
On-going studies at the USDA-ARS-CPRC and at the Clemson University, Pee Dee
Research and Education Center (PDREC) will be enhanced by providing additional
analyses for improving soil quality, enhancing crop yields, and assessing the
suitability of crop residues as feedstocks for thermal chemical conversion. More
information will be gathered on residue removal influences on profile soil physicochemical properties, changes in crop yield and grain quality, and ascertaining residue quality as a feedstock for thermal chemical conversion. This study will complement the ARS Renewable Energy Assessment Project (REAP) team efforts with similar resources at eight participating ARS locations. Equal resources per the SunGrant program are available to university partners (i.e., PDREC) to strengthen the research, provide additional agronomic expertise, and improve technology transfer products and relationships with customers.
This research directly relates to inhouse objective 2 - crop yields, soil fertility, and microbiological properties were measured in plots under different rates of residue removal.
Sustainable corn stover removal in sandy agricultural soils: In bioenergy production systems in the Coastal Plain, corn residue is removed for processing, but some residue must be returned to maintain soil health. After 4 years of residue removal, grain yields were not influenced, the abundances of microbial communities were shifted to favor fungi, and there were topsoil potassium and phosphorus concentrations declines. Corn residue harvesting can occur on sandy soils, but eventually soil nutrients removed with corn residue will need replenishment.