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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Alfalfa: Biofuel and Feed

Authors
item Martin, Neal
item Jung, Hans Joachim

Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 20, 2008
Publication Date: February 26, 2008
Citation: Martin, N.P., Jung, H.G. 2008. Alfalfa: biofuel and feed. In: Proceedings of 2008 Idaho Alfalfa and Forage Conference, February 26-27, 2008, Burley, Idaho. p. 4-7.

Technical Abstract: Alfalfa hay is a major crop that supports Idaho's dairy industry. Several cellulosic feedstocks will be needed to meet current ethanol production goals. Alfalfa has considerable potential as a feedstock for production of ethanol and other industrial materials because of its high biomasss production, perennial nature, ability to provide its own nitrogen fertilizer, and valuable co-products. Alfalfa stems are an excellent feedstock for cellulosic ethanol via fermentation or gasification. Fractionation processes can produce alfalfa leaf meal (ALM) with protein content comparable to protein in dried distiller's grains. Adding high-value products from either fraction of alfalfa for non-livestock uses will add value to alfalfa biomass use for biofuel. When a biomass-type alfalfa is grown under a biomass management system with less dense seeding and only two harvests per year, compared with standard hay-type alfalfa production practices, total yield of alfalfa increases 42%, leaf protein yield is equal, and potential ethanol yield from stems doubles. Alfalfa grown in rotation with corn to produce biomass for ethanol production reduces nitrogen loss from leaching and denitrification of corn with minimal reduction in profitability of corn.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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