Biomass Benefits

More on the potential of biomass harvesting.

By Deborah Huso

The Benefit of Harvesting Corn Stover

  • Partial stover harvest has shown to increase the next year’s corn yield by an average of 5.2%.
  • Partial stover harvest also enables farmers to increase the number of times they can plant corn in consecutive years.
  • Stover harvest allows for no- to low-till farming, which is healthier for the soil and the environment, as well as reducing wear and tear on equipment.
  • Partial stover harvest reduces tillage allowing for savings on fuel and equipment costs.
  • Management of residue lets a grower actively meet his soil management goals, while increasing his income from direct residue payments and contributing to lower farming costs.

 

Quick Biomass Stats*

  • It’s estimated the Earth grows about 130 billion tons of biomass annually, which constitutes more than six times the world’s energy use.
  • Globally, biomass is the fourth largest supplier of energy after coal, oil and natural gas, representing 14% of the world’s total energy supply.
  • Corn-derived ethanol accounts for about 10% of U.S. gasoline consumption.
  • Current estimates of corn stover supply stand at about 75 million tons per year.
  • The exciting opportunity for biomass feedstock in the long run is not as ethanol for fuel, but as renewable bio-chemicals.

* Sources: Oak Ridge National Laboratory,U.S. Cooperative Extension Service and Pacific Ag

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