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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ADVANCING SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT CROPPING SYSTEMS FOR THE SHORT GROWING SEASONS AND COLD, WET SOILS OF THE UPPER MIDWEST

Location: Soil Management Research

Title: Best management practices: Managing cropping systems for soil protection and bioenergy production

Authors
item Johnson, Jane
item Didreckson, Tina -

Submitted to: Technical Report
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: June 22, 2011
Publication Date: July 1, 2011
Citation: Johnson, J.M., Didreckson, T. 2011. Best management practices: Managing cropping systems for soil protection and bioenergy production [CD-ROM]. In: Rasmussen, L., editor. Biomass Gasification: A Comprehensive Demonstration of a Community-Scale Biomass Energy System. Final Report to the USDA Rural Development Grant 68-3A75-5-232. Morris, Minnesota. 2011.

Technical Abstract: Interest in renewable alternatives to fossil fuels has increased. Crop residue such as corn stover or wheat straw can be used for bioenergy including a substitution for natural gas or coal. Harvesting crop residue needs to be managed to protect the soil and future soil productivity. The amount of biomass required to stay on the land to prevent loss of soil organic matter can exceed the amount needed to limit erosion. A first line of soil protection is to follow the established conservation practices for avoiding erosion. Such practices include eliminating or at least reducing tillage to keep the soil covered. In areas with sufficient moisture and low erosion risks, practices such as adding cover crops, avoiding fallow, adding perennials or applying amendments (e.g., manure) could be used to offset soil impacts from harvesting crop residues. A decision tree is presented to offer guidance if and where residue may be harvested. Also if residue is harvested in addition to grain, additional nutrients are removed. Therefore, soil tests and crop monitoring are recommended to avoid plant nutrient deficiencies.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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