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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SOIL MANAGEMENT FOR ENHANCED AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY AND SUSTAINABLE BIOFUEL FEEDSTOCK PRODUCTION Title: Corn grain, stover yield, and nutrient removal validations at regional partnership sites

Authors
item Karlen, Douglas
item Birrell, Stuart -
item Johnson, Jane
item Osborne, Shannon
item Schumacher, Thomas -
item Varvel, Gary
item Ferguson, Richard -
item Novak, Jeffrey
item Fredrick, James -
item Baker, John
item Lamb, John -
item Adler, Paul
item Roth, Greg -
item Nafziger, Emerson -

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 2012
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Citation: Karlen, D.L., Birrell, S.J., Johnson, J.M., Osborne, S.L., Schumacher, T.E., Varvel, G.E., Ferguson, R.B., Novak, J.M., Fredrick, J.R., Baker, J.M., Lamb, J.A., Adler, P.R., Roth, G.W., Nafziger, E.D. 2012. Corn grain, stover yield, and nutrient removal validations at regional partnership sites. Proceedings of the Sun Grant National COnference, October 2-5, 2012, New Orleans, LA. Available: http://sungrant.tennessee.edu/NatConference/ConferenceProceedings/.

Technical Abstract: Corn (Zea mays, L.) stover, the aboveground material left in fields after corn grain harvest, has been selected as a major feedstock by at least four companies investing in cellulosic bioenergy. Estimates of the amount of stover that could be sustainably harvested have varied greatly depending upon the limiting factors being considered. This presentation will review the four-year Sun Grant Regional Partnership corn production trials and supporting ARS and university studies at seven U.S. locations contributing to the DOE Knowledge Discovery Framework (KDF) database. Seasonal variation in weather patterns caused yields to differ substantially among sites and years. To quantify this site-specific variation, data from each site will be examined relative to National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) yield projections for each area. In addition to grain and stover yield, the quantity of N, P, and K removed by each crop will also be examined. To sustain soil resources within the Corn Belt, preliminary analyses suggest that stover should not be harvested if average grain yields are less than 11 Mg ha-1 (175 bu ac-1). Although non-irrigated eastern and western sites may not achieve these yield levels, corn can still be part of an overall landscape approach for sustainable feedstock production. Furthermore, producers with consistently high yields (> 200 bu ac-1) may be able to sustainably harvest stover by decreasing their tillage intensity, thus also decreasing fuel usage and preserving rhizosphere carbon and/or soil structure benefits often attributed to no-till production systems.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014