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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Biofuels for the Bay: Cellulosic Double Crops in the Chesapeake Watershed

item Baxter, R
item Plakkat, A
item Camargo, G
item Dubin, M
item Rotz, Clarence - Al
item Roth, G
item Richard, T

Submitted to: Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International (ASABE)
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/30/2009
Publication Date: 10/11/2009
Publication URL:
Citation: Baxter, R., Plakkat, A., Camargo, G., Dubin, M., Rotz, C.A., Roth, G., Richard, T.L. 2009. Biofuels for the bay: cellulosic double crops in the Chesapeake Watershed. Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International (ASABE). Paper No. BIO-098312

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: For over two decades, technical experts and policy makers have been encouraging the use of cover crops throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed as a way to reduce nutrient and soil losses and improve water quality. While such practices have been heavily adopted in some regions, the economic incentives have been inadequate across much of the watershed. With the advent of demand for cellulosic biomass, there is increasing interest in planting energy crops as double crops, intensifying production while enhancing environmental outcomes from management of existing row crop acres. In this study, we predicted biomass production from a winter rye cover crop on corn grain land and soybean land that did not currently have a small grain winter crop. Based on the 2007 USDA Census of Agriculture, the Chesapeake Bay watershed included 604,600 hectares of corn grain and 431,500 hectares of soybean production, of which approximately 489,500 and 370,300 hectares respectively had no cover crop in 2007. Rye yield was modeled using the Integrated Farm System Model (IFSM) adjusting for different typical planting dates and climate conditions across the region. Within the Chesapeake Watershed, the potential biomass from such a double crop strategy is substantial, on the order of 3,500,000 Mg of rye biomass dry matter, providing a significant contribution to sustainable energy, water, and soils.

Last Modified: 06/21/2017
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