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Corn Stover and Perennial Grasses For Biofuel Tim Reinbott University of Missouri Bradford Research and Extension Center
Why Corn? • Plentiful • 12 Billion Bushel Crop, nearly 1 billion carryover • Compact • 45 lbs/ft2 • Consistent • Minnesota to Missouri is the Same • Infrastructure in Place • On Farm Storage
Crop Residue orCorn Stover • Often Called Trash: • But it Protects From and Provides • Wind Erosion • Water Erosion • Soil Carbon-Organic Matter • No Food or Fuel Debate? • Is this always true?
Corn Residue Does Corn Residue Have An Economic Value? • Harvest Index • Corn-50% • Soybean-40% • Wheat-40% • N, P, and K/ton • 19-4-36 • Tons/acre • 120 bu/acre : 120 x 56=6720 lbs x 0.67=4500 lbs or 2.25 tons/acre
Value of P and K in Corn Residue • 2.25 tons/acre x 4 lbs P205/ton=9 lbs P2O5/acre • 2.25 tons/acre x 36 lbs K20/ton=81 lbs K20/acre • 9 x $0.78/lb P205=$7.02 • 81 x $0.78/lb K20=$63.18 • $70.2/acre or $31.2/ton
Corn Cobs • Used in Power Plants or Ethanol-Poet in South Dakota • 15% of Residue= • 1000 lbs/acre • Nutrient Removal • 1 lb P2O5 and 8 lb K2O/acre-$7.5 • Specialized Equipment
Corn Residue • Harvest Index =Grain Yield/total above ground yield Grain~52% and Stover ~48% • Fertilizer Cost of Residue-P and K=$70/acre • Cost of Raking and Baling-$12/bale • Total Cost=$150/acre or $51/ton
Corn ResidueSoil Costs? • Soil Carbon or Organic Matter • In Missouri-~2% • We have lost 50% from tillage • Can we maintain what we have left and still remove the crop residue?
Importance of Organic Matter • Soil Structure • Erosion Control • Soil Tilth • Aeration • Water Holding Capacity • Nutrient Cycling • Ion Exchange • Microbial Activity
Changes in Organic Matter • After 8 years a drop in Soil Organic Matter when even 50% of Residue is removed.
Removal of Corn Residue on Soil • A 120 bu/acre corn crop produces 6720 lbs of Corn Stover. Which is minimal to maintain Soil Organic Matter.
Conclusions • Corn Residue has economic value-$70/acre • Baling another $12/bale or $45/acre. • Residue in Missouri Extremely Important for Maintaining Soil Organic Matter and Reducing Erosion • Corn Cobs-OK, just make sure you get something for them.
Tall Fescue • Primary Forage in Missouri-17 million acres • Cool Season Grass • Most Growth in Spring and Fall • Stockpiling
Tall Fescue Seed HarvestMissouri Is #1 in the Nation After Fescue Seed Harvest Fescue Seed Harvest
Tall Fescue Seed Aftermath • As a Forage-$20/bale • As Biofuel-$35/bale • Pelletizing • Ethanol Nutrient Costs? Tall Fescue Hay 40-15-40/ton removed P and K @ $0.78/lb = $42.9/ton
Tall Fescue • Decent Quality Hay in Spring if Put Up Timely • Often more than needed • High Quality Grazing in Fall • Aftermath of Seed Harvest-Poor Quality
Switchgrass vs Other NWG • Planting-Seed of Switchgrass is very easy compared to Indian or Big Bluestem • Indian and Big Bluestem must be deawned if you do not have specialized equipment
Establishment of NWSG Standard Seed Metering Fluffy Seed Attachment
Native Warm Season Grasses • Switchgrass is a Early Successional Species • Will die out in 10-15 years • Other NWSG persist longer • Switchgrass Has A lot of Ecotypes Developed • Upland-Cave In Rock • Lowland-Alamo, Kanlow
Harvesting Native Warm Season Grasses • Mow, Rake, Bale • When • Beginning in October when dormant • Can be delayed to allow more nutrients to move down to the root system
Native GrassesRelative Yield • In NE Missouri in 2008 at the Plant Materials Center with 100 lbs N/acre • CIR Switchgrass-4.97 tons/acre • Big Bluestem-5.6 tons/acre • Rumsey Indiangrass-6.6 tons/acre • Kanlow and Alamo SG-7.9 tons/acre • Our Plots without any N: • Switchgrass-1.94 ton/acre • Indian-2.14 ton/acre • Big Bluestem-1.11 ton/acre
Native Grasses Switchgrass Indiangrass
Native Grasses When it is icy many of the grasses can be broken down
Native Grasses Problems Big Bluestem Big Bluestem (left) compared to Indiangrass (right).
Remember These Native Grasses Were Selected for Forage Yield to be Harvested multiple times
Native Grass Nutrient Removal • 5 tons/acre • 100 lb N/acre-$80/acre • Remove: • P-9 lb/ton x 5 tons=45 lbs/acre • K-46 lb/ton x 5 tons=230 lbs/acre* • At $0.78/ lb P and K=$35+$179=$214+$80=$294/acre • * this can go down if harvest is delayed until winter
Cost of Nutrient Removal • $294/acre/5 tons • Or $58.8/ton • 1200 lb Big Round Bale=$35 • Cost of Baling-$20/bale • Total Cost-$55/bale • Does not include transport, time, etc.
Native Grasses and Organic Matter • As much below ground dry matter as above • Very Deep-6 ft • Not going to be a problem
Native Grass Area Needed and Transport and Storage • 50 million Gallon Ethanol Plant • 90 gallon/ton conversion • 550,000 tons or 925,000 big Round Bales • At 5 tons/acre 111,000 acres within a 40 mile radius of the ethanol plant
Where Do You Store Almost 1 Million Bales? Enough to Fill Faurot Stadium 5 times
Native Grass Storage • An Answer Maybe In Field Pelletizing or Compression to a More Compact Form
Conclusions • Tall Fescue Aftermath From Seed Harvest Maybe the Best Source of Biofuel • Big Blustem and Indiangrass harder to establish than Switchgrass but will live longer and give similar if not greater yields • Cost of fertilizer replacement is nearly $60/bale • Concerns with year around storage
Fuel vs Food Controversy With Cellulostic Ethanol or Other Biofuel? • Corn-1/3 Ethanol, 1/3 Distillers Grain, 1/3 CO2 • Cellulosic Ethanol or Pelleting-100% Fuel • No animal feed
Diverse Stands • A monoculture of a grass will be essentially a desert for wildlife • Cost is driven up by N fertilizer • What if we had a mixed stand?
Diverse Stands • Minnesota Study Published in Science Found More Biomass and Biofuel Potential When As The Diversity Increased • Use of Natives?
Diverse Stands • Use of Native Legumes for a N source • Also Provide Flexibility for Livestock
Diverse Stand • At MU Bradford Research and Extension Center • Low Input/High Diverse compared to a High Input/Monoculture • 18 different forbs and legumes • Switchgrass and Big Bluestem • Cutting Height • Seasonal Harvests Depending on Need