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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Comparison of corn and switchgrass on marginal soils for bioenergy

Authors
item Varvel, Gary
item Vogel, Kenneth
item Mitchell, Robert
item Follett, Ronald
item Kimble, J - USDA-NRCS

Submitted to: Biomass and Bioenergy
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 3, 2007
Publication Date: January 15, 2008
Citation: Varvel, G.E., Vogel, K.P., Mitchell, R., Follett, R.F., Kimble, J.M. 2008. Comparison of corn and switchgrass on marginal soils for bioenergy. Biomass and Bioenergy 32:18-21.

Interpretive Summary: Crop residues such as corn stover (residue left after grain is harvested) are viewed as an abundant and inexpensive source of biomass that can be removed from fields to produce bioenergy. Assumptions include that with minimum or no-tillage farming methods, there will be no deleterious production or environment effects. Corn was grown under no-till management at three fertility levels in eastern Nebraska, USA. Three years removal of half the available stover significantly reduced corn grain yields. Results indicate the use of crop residues for bioenergy may decrease crop productivity. The effect of crop residue removal on crop productivity needs to be investigated in other agro-ecosystems.

Technical Abstract: Crop residues such as corn (Zea mays) stover are viewed as an abundant and inexpensive source of biomass that can be removed from fields to produce bioenergy. Assumptions include that with minimum or no-tillage farming methods, there will be no deleterious production or environment effects. Corn was grown under no-till management at three fertility levels (60, 120, 180 kg N/ha) in eastern Nebraska, USA, during the period 2000-2003. Three years removal of half the available stover significantly (p=0.03) reduced corn grain yields at each of the three fertility levels. Results indicate the use of corn stover for bioenergy may decrease corn grain yields. The effect of crop residue removal on crop productivity needs to be investigated in other agro-ecosystems.

Last Modified: 11/25/2014
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