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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SOIL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR DRYLAND AND IRRIGATED CROPPING SYSTEMS

Location: Agroecosystem Management Research

Title: Developing Field Studies to Measure Corn Residue Removal Effects on Soil Organic Matter - A Multi-Location Approach

Authors
item Varvel, Gary
item Karlen, Douglas
item Baker, John
item Johnson, Jane
item Osborne, Shannon
item Novak, Jeffrey

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 28, 2009
Publication Date: August 15, 2009
Citation: Varvel, G.E., Karlen, D.L., Baker, J.M., Johnson, J.M., Osborne, S.L., Novak, J.M. 2009. Developing Field Studies to Measure Corn Residue Removal Effects on Soil Organic Matter - A Multi-Location Approach [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting, November 1-5, 2009, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 2009 CDROM. Abstract No. 163-7.

Interpretive Summary: Corn (Zea mays L.) stover was identified in the Billion Ton Report as a primary feedstock for lignocellulosic biofuel production because it is the most abundant crop residue in the U.S. Potential water and wind erosion effects of stover harvest were considered for those predictions, but several USDA-ARS scientists working with existing long-term experiments were concerned that effects on soil organic matter (SOM) were not fully evaluated. To pursue those concerns, the Renewable Energy Assessment Project (REAP) was developed as an ARS cross-location CRIS project. Existing long-term and new field studies at several locations throughout the U.S. were focused on determining how much corn stover must be retained to sustain SOM. REAP efforts were expanded by developing the Regional Partnership Agronomic Team through the SunGrant/DOE partnership. By linking ARS, university, DOE and private industry scientists, preliminary guidelines were established based on literature reviews and examination of results from many of the long-term studies. The Regional Partnership’s goal is to utilize those guidelines in addition to results from new and long-term experiments to ensure that operations using corn stover for cellulosic biofuel production are truly sustainable. This presentation will focus on development of the Agronomic Team, background information from the literature and long-term studies. Objectives and minimum data requirements for the studies and some first year results may be presented.

Technical Abstract: Corn (Zea mays L.) stover was identified in the Billion Ton Report as a primary feedstock for lignocellulosic biofuel production because it is the most abundant crop residue in the U.S. Potential water and wind erosion effects of stover harvest were considered for those predictions, but several USDA-ARS scientists working with existing long-term experiments were concerned that effects on soil organic matter (SOM) were not fully evaluated. To pursue those concerns, the Renewable Energy Assessment Project (REAP) was developed as an ARS cross-location CRIS project. Existing long-term and new field studies at several locations throughout the U.S. were focused on determining how much corn stover must be retained to sustain SOM. REAP efforts were expanded by developing the Regional Partnership Agronomic Team through the SunGrant/DOE partnership. By linking ARS, university, DOE and private industry scientists, preliminary guidelines were established based on literature reviews and examination of results from many of the long-term studies. The Regional Partnership’s goal is to utilize those guidelines in addition to results from new and long-term experiments to ensure that operations using corn stover for cellulosic biofuel production are truly sustainable. This presentation will focus on development of the Agronomic Team, background information from the literature and long-term studies. Objectives and minimum data requirements for the studies and some first year results may be presented.

Last Modified: 7/30/2014
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