As corn yields increase – corn residue increases. This can create management challenges for growers. Agronomists and scientists from DuPont Pioneer and DuPont Industrial Biosciences have teamed up to help address those with research on the impact of residue removal on the long-term agronomic and environmental integrity of fields. DuPont Pioneer Agronomy Research Manager for Cellulosic Ethanol Andy Heggenstaller says a sustainable stover harvest program provides value to the grower without negatively impacting the health and productivity of the soil in fields where partial stover removal is an option. But stover removal is not an option for every field – so individual field evaluation is needed. According to DuPont Pioneer – highly productive, relatively flat, continuous corn fields are best suited for stover removal and tend to see the greatest agronomic benefits. In those areas where residue management is a critical factor in production decisions – DuPont Pioneer says partial stover harvest could expand rotation and farming options. Stover removal could also eliminate tillage operations and other residue management practices – and lead to substantial production cost savings.
DuPont Pioneer notes there are a number of agronomic advantages of partial stover removal. These include accelerated spring soil warming and drying, improved stand establishment, reduced nitrogen immobilization, reduced disease pressure, expanded rotation options and reduced tillage. Studies have also shown that removing excess stover can provide yield advantages. The remaining residue in a sustainable stover harvest program ensures soil erosion prevention, soil organic carbon maintenance and soil fertility management. The amount needed to manage erosion varies – depending on field characteristics and management practices. Stover is also evaluated for cellulosic ethanol production – which has benefits for farmers and biofuel producers.
Heggenstaller says growers need to think ahead about where they want to go with crop production when considering stover harvest. As grain yields and residue levels increase – he says it becomes more sustainable and economical to harvest a portion of stover and use it to produce other products than to till it into the soil.
Talk with your local DuPont Pioneer agronomist or visit www dot pioneer dot com (www.pioneer.com) for more information on partial corn stover harvest.
Source: NAFB News Service