There are a number of surprising findings from a recent Biofuels Digest webinar worth sharing. The webinar was titled “Creating Sustainable Supply Chains for Cellulosic Biofuels,” and among the findings:
1. Stover harvest increased corn yield in 93% of trials
2. 5.2 bu/acre corn yield advantage w/stover harvest.
3. Growers realized a $36 per acre increase in profit per acre, after fertilizer replacement, stover income and yield gain. Farmers with manure resources (e.g. from hog farming) can improve on these results further by reducing fertilizer replacement needs.
4. Partial Stover Harvest can Replace other Residue Management Practices. 40% of farmers in the DuPont stover program reduced tillage intensity in 2013 or reported they were planning to do so in 2014.
5. The specific rotation and tilling practice has a major impact on stover harvest. Corn-soy rotations deliver 1.2 less tons of stover per acre.
6. According to NCRS, “Removing residue can have a negative affect on soil health but by making wise management decisions it may be done sustainably.”
7. To increase an SCI (Soil Conservation Index) score, the NRCS suggests:
Raise crops that produce high amounts of residue; Utilize cover crops, seed early, to increase organic matter; Utilize manure or crop mulch to add organic matter; Limit the Number of tillage trips; Limit the amount of soil disturbance; Minimize the amount of wind and water erosion; Use production techniques that increase crop and crop residue.
8. Crop management has to evolve to make stover harvesting work. Sheet and rill erosion is not always visible; and generally controlled by reducing tillage and leaving residue on the soil surface during time of high rainfall “April, May, June”
Source: Biofuels Digest