Monday, April 23, 2012

Iowa: How Much Crop Residue to Remove

AgFax.Com - Your Online Ag News Source


Crop residue removal — what effect does it have on corn yield and soil quality? That’s a question quite often asked these days.

The adoption of no-till and other conservation tillage systems help keep significant amounts of crop residue on the soil surface, which can create management challenges, especially in areas with wet and cold soil conditions. Also, more acres of continuous corn are being grown, which leads to a greater amount of crop residue on fields compared to corn-soybean rotation. These higher levels of crop residue bring more challenges for farmers.




Increased use of no-till and other conservation systems helps sustain the soil quality and improve environmental quality by reducing soil erosion. However, in the near future corn residue could be removed from fields for cellulosic ethanol production in addition to current animal uses. This trend may encourage the switch to continuous corn, which can lead to high N application and more conventional tillage. The increase in conventional tillage coupled with high use of nitrogen fertilizer in continuous corn will present a significant soil and water quality challenge.

The trend to more continuous corn, more crop residue removal, higher rates of nitrogen applied and potentially more tillage will present economic and environmental challenges that we need to consider.

The use of corn stover for cellulosic ethanol production or any other use should be weighed against the potential impact on soil productivity, environmental consequences and food availability. That’s why researchers are looking at the potential for crops like miscanthus and switchgrass for making cellulosic ethanol. To strike a balance between environmental sustainability and economic viability, alternative perennial biomass sources for cellulosic ethanol production are being explored to combine with corn grain ethanol.


The value of crop residue is obvious.

How much residue to harvest?

The main crop Iowa grows is corn and the crop residue corn produces each year is the most readily available feedstock for making cellulosic ethanol and for animal use. But that residue plays a very important role in sustaining soil quality which must be kept in mind when deciding how much corn stover to harvest and how much to leave on a field.

Leaving crop residue on the soil surface will improve the cycling of nutrients and ultimately soil quality, both of which increase and sustain soil productivity. Corn residue left on the field after harvest is a critical source of soil organic matter; it provides protection for the soil against water and wind erosion; and it contributes to the improvement of soil and water quality.

Alternative uses of corn residue for various purposes, such as baling the residue for livestock use or for cellulosic ethanol production, needs to be approached carefully. Removal of too much crop residue potentially can have adverse effects on soil and water quality.

How much corn residue can be safely removed from a field? Sustainable stover removal rates depend on several factors such as soil erodibility, surface slope, cultural practices and climate conditions. Recent studies suggest that only 20 to 30 percent of the total stover production could be removed for biofuel, based on ground cover requirements to control soil erosion. However, other studies suggest that residue removal should be lower than 20 percent, especially with conventional tillage, in order to maintain soil quality and nutrient cycling for long-term soil productivity.

Consider long-term effects of residue removal

The impact of crop residue removal on soil productivity and environmental quality is not a short-term outcome, particularly in the Midwest, where high organic matter, high soil productivity and good agriculture production conditions mask the short-term effect of residue removal.

Possible short-term impacts of corn stover removal may include an increase in amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and other nutrients that need to be applied to replace these nutrients lost due to crop residue removal. Potential deficiencies of nutrients and decline of organic matter in the soil are both the long-term impacts. It was estimated that nutrients replacement cost due to corn residue removal was approximately $20 per ton of removed corn residue. These nutrients will be permanently lost from the soil system nutrients pool due to lack of replenishment from crop residue and they have to be added to maintain soil productivity.

Keep in mind that when you harvest corn crop residue from a field, a significant amount of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is removed. Using no-till and above agronomic nitrogen fertilizer rate may help in reducing soil organic matter loss in the short-term due to crop residue removal.

Key Points:

• What else do you remove when you harvest corn crop residue from a field?
• A significant amount of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is removed.
• Using no-till and adequate N application rates may minimize soil organic matter loss due to residue removal in the short-term.


Tags: ,


Leave a Reply

Name and Email Address are required fields. Your email will not be published or shared with third parties.

Sunbelt Ag News

    Texas Cotton Industry Mourns The Death Of Economist Carl Anderson9-1

    Livestock: Market Lessons from 4-H County Fairs – DTN9-1

    China Cotton: Reserves’ Quantity, Quality Cause Problems – DTN9-1

    Welch on Wheat: Spring Wheat Harvest Running 22% Behind9-1

    Welch on Grain: Corn Condition Improves, Well Above Average9-1

    Keith Good: Production Costs Out of Balance with Expected Revenues9-1

    Flint on Crops: Rain Is Better Than Well Water9-1

    Rose on Cotton: Plenty of Gaps and No Rallies Expected8-29

    Peanut Harvest In N. Fla.; Drought Pushes Digging In Lower SE – AgFax8-29

    Rice Crop: Looking for a Normal Crop, Not a Bumper8-29

    Rice Market: Being Short Tricky but Being Long Takes Patience8-29

    Peanut Stocks and Processing: Utilization Up 2%, Stocks at 1.9B lbs8-29

    Cleveland on Cotton: Chinese Demand Pulling Prices Higher8-29

    DTN Livestock Close: Cattle Futures Sharply Higher on Positive Cash News8-29

    Doane Cotton Close: Futures Unable to Recover Losses8-29

    DTN Cotton Close: Late Rally Leaves Dec. Flat8-29

    AFB Grain-Soybean Close: Modest Losses Across the Board8-29

    AFB Cotton Close: Dec. Moves Fractionally Lower8-29

    AFB Rice Close: Futures Chart New Leg Down8-29

    Farm Bill: Cotton Transition Assistance Enrollment Now Open8-29

    Are USDA Corn Yield Forecasts Getting Better or Worse Over Time?8-29

    DTN Grain Close: Markets Settle Lower Ahead of 3 Day Weekend8-29

    USDA: Peanut Price Highlights8-29

    DTN Livestock Midday: Hog Futures Surge Higher8-29

    Farmers with Foreign Assets Face New IRS Rules and Serious Penalties8-29

    DTN Grain Midday: All 3 Markets Slide Lower8-29

    Mississippi Outdoors: Beaver Management Not a Simple Issue8-29

    Arkansas: Flood Damage to Crops Valued at $35.6M8-29

    Delta Soybean Yields Start Strong; Sugarcane Aphid Marches On – AgFax8-29

    California: Pinnacle Announces Acquisition of Kerman Ag Resources8-29

    DTN Cotton Open: Extends Prior-Session Loss8-29

    Midwest Farm Lenders Expect Solid Output; Lower Farm Income – Federal Reserve8-29

    Farm Payments to Stakeholders Rise as Gov. Payments Decline – USDA8-29

    Young Farmer in Your Future? – Helping Him or Her is Key to Success. – DTN8-29

    Net Farm Income Forecast to Fall,10.6% Decline Crop Value – USDA8-29

    DTN Livestock Open: Cattle Pits to Start with Mixed Prices8-29

    DTN Grain Open: Wheat Continues to Rally8-29

    Alabama: Pesticide Clean Days, Sept. 3-48-28

    Oklahoma: Fall Cotton Tour, Hydro, Sept. 118-28

    Rice Harvest Eases Into Gear In Midsouth – AgFax8-28

    Farm Drones Under Scrutiny: Farmers Impatient for FAA Ruling – DTN8-28

    USDA Readies Dairy Program, Producers Able to Sign Up Tuesday – DTN8-28

    U.S. Grain Transportation: Inspections Continue to Increase8-28

    Farm Program Decisions Hinge on Uncertain 2014 Crop Prices8-28

    Raindrops Keep Falling on Heads of Many Midwest Farmers — DTN8-28

    Economist: Big Potential in China for U.S. Corn, Livestock Exports8-28

    John Deere Lays Off 460 from Waterloo, Iowa Factory8-28

    U.S. Energy: Retail Gas Prices Follow Crude Prices Lower8-28

    Gasoline Prices: Decline by 2 Cents8-28

    Propane Stocks: Up to 74.7M Barrels8-28

    Diesel Prices: Average Drops a Penny8-28

    Sugarcane Aphid In Grain Sorghum: Florida, Georgia Find Infestations8-27

    Cotton – Midsouth – Bolls Opening, Early Defoliation Nears – AgFax8-27

    Midwest Corn and Soybeans Need Warm, Clear September – AgFax8-27

    Cotton – Southeast – More Open Bolls, Lingering Pests – AgFax8-27

    Farm Groups Map Waters to Block Clean Water Act Changes – DTN8-27

    Texas: 2 More Counties Make Natural Disaster List8-27

    Southwest May Face ‘Megadrought’ This Century, Say Scientists8-27

    China’s Citizenship Reform Should Benefit Farmers — DTN8-27

    What Can We Learn about Corn, Soybean Yields from Crop Tours?8-27

    Consider Sulfur for Your Fertility Plans This Fall — DTN8-27

    Rough Rice: Stocks Down 13 Percent from August 2013 — USDA8-27

    South Carolina: Peanut Field Day, Blackville, Sept. 48-27

    Sunbelt Ag Events

     

    About Us

    AgFax.Com covers agricultural trends and production topics, with an emphasis on news about cotton, rice, peanuts, corn, soybeans, wheat and tree crops, including almonds, pecans, walnuts and pistachios.

      

    This site also serves as the on-line presence of electronic crop and pest reports published by AgFax Media LLC (formerly Looking South Communications).

        

    Click here to subscribe to our free reports.

      

    We provide early warnings and confirmations about pests, diseases and other factors that influence yield. Our goal is to quickly provide farmers and crop advisors with information needed to make better and more profitable decisions.

         

    Our free weekly crop and pest advisories include:

    • AgFax Midsouth Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri.

    • AgFax Southeast Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southwest Cotton (new for 2013!), covering cotton production and news in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico.

    • AgFax West (formerly MiteFax: SJV Cotton), covering California cotton, alfalfa, tomatoes and other non-permanent crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgFax Rice covering rice production and news in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

    • AgFax Peanuts, covering peanut production in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southern Grain: covering soybeans, corn, milo and small grains in Southern states.

    • AgFax Almonds, covering almonds, pistachios, walnuts and other tree crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgCom 101, providing guidance to ag professionals involved in social media.

    Our newsletters are sponsored by the following companies: FMC Corporation Chemtura Dow AgroSciences.

          

    Mission statement:

    Make it as easy as possible for our community of readers to find and/or receive needed information.

              

    Contact Information:

    AgFax Media. LLC

    142 Westlake Drive Brandon, MS 39047

    601-992-9488 Office 601-992-3503 Fax

    Owen Taylor Debra L. Ferguson Laurie Courtney

          

    Circulation Questions?

    Contact Laurie Courtney