BioEnergy Research

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 342–352 | Cite as

Nutrient Removal as a Function of Corn Stover Cutting Height and Cob Harvest

  • Jane M. F. Johnson
  • Wally W. Wilhelm
  • Douglas L. Karlen
  • David W. Archer
  • Brian Wienhold
  • David T. Lightle
  • David Laird
  • John Baker
  • Tyson E. Ochsner
  • Jeff M. Novak
  • Ardell D. Halvorson
  • Francisco Arriaga
  • Nancy Barbour
Article

Abstract

One-pass harvest equipment has been developed to collect corn (Zea mays L.) grain, stover, and cobs that can be used as bioenergy feedstock. Nutrients removed in these feedstocks have soil fertility implication and affect feedstock quality. The study objectives were to quantify nutrient concentrations and potential removal as a function of cutting height, plant organ, and physiological stage. Plant samples were collected in 10-cm increments at seven diverse geographic locations at two maturities and analyzed for multiple elements. At grain harvest, nutrient concentration averaged 5.5 g N kg−1, 0.5 g P kg−1, and 6.2 g K kg−1 in cobs, 7.5 g N kg−1, 1.2 g P kg−1, and 8.7 g K kg−1 in the above-ear stover fraction, and 6.4 g N kg−1, 1.0 g P kg−1, and 10.7 g K kg−1 in the below-ear stover fraction (stover fractions exclude cobs). The average collective cost to replace N, P, and K was $11.66 Mg−1 for cobs, $17.59 Mg−1 for above-ear stover, and $18.11 Mg−1 for below-ear stover. If 3 Mg ha−1 of above-ear stover fraction plus 1 Mg of cobs are harvested, an average N, P, and K replacement cost was estimated at $64 ha−1. Collecting cobs or above-ear stover fraction may provide a higher quality feedstock while removing fewer nutrients compared to whole stover removal. This information will enable producers to balance soil fertility by adjusting fertilizer rates and to sustain soil quality by predicting C removal for different harvest scenarios. It also provides elemental information to the bioenergy industry.

Keywords

Corn cobs Corn stover Plant nutrition Soil fertility Biofuel feedstock 

Abbreviations

BON

Bonferroni minimum significant difference

GLM

General linear model

ICP-OES

Inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy

LSD

Least significant difference

MDL

Minimum detection limit

SOC

Soil organic carbon

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors dedicate this publication to Dr. Wally Wilhelm. We thank B. Burmeister for proofreading, but we take full responsibility for any errors. We also thank the reviewers and Dr. Michael Casler for insightful and constructive suggestions for improvements. We acknowledge the efforts of technical and student helpers for sampling and processing plant tissue samples. This work contributes to the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, cross-location–Renewable Energy Assessment Project (REAP). Publication costs were covered by funding from the North Central Regional Sun Grant Center at South Dakota State University through a grant provided by the US Department of Energy Office of Biomass Programs under award number DE-FC36-05GO85041.

Supplementary material

12155_2010_9093_MOESM1_ESM.doc (218 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 218 kb)

References

  1. 1.
    Andraski TW, Bundy LG (2008) Corn residue and nitrogen source effects on nitrogen availability in no-till corn. Agron J 100:1274–1279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Aristos A, Schechinger T, Birrell SJ, Euken J (2007) Collection, commercial processing, and utilization of corn stover. Final technical report. DOE scientific and technical information. Available via http://www.osti.gov/bridge/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=917000. doi: 10.2172/917000. Cited 29 Jan 2010
  3. 3.
    Arvelakis S, Koukios EG (2002) Physicochemical upgrading of agroresidues as feedstocks for energy production via thermochemical conversion methods. Biomass Bioe 22:331–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bernard JK, West JW, Trammell DS, Cross GH (2004) Influence of corn variety and cutting height on nutritive value of silage fed to lactating dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 87:2172–2176CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Blanco-Canqui H, Lal R (2009) Corn stover removal for expanded uses reduces soil fertility and structural stability. Soil Sci Soc Am J 73:418–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Campbell JE, Lobell DB, Field CB (2009) Greater transportation energy and GHG offsets from bioelectricity than ethanol. Science 324:1055–1057CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cummins DG (1970) Quality and yield of corn plants and component parts when harvested for silage at different maturity stages. Agron J 62:781–784CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Biomass Research and Development Board (2008) Increasing feedstock production for biofuels: economic drivers, environmental implications, and the role of research. Biomass Research and Development Board. Available via http://www.brdisolutions.com/Site%20Docs/Increasing%20Feedstock_revised.pdf. Cited 8 Dec 2008
  9. 9.
    Dolan MS, Clapp CE, Allmaras RR, Baker JM, Molina JAE (2006) Soil organic carbon and nitrogen in a Minnesota soil as related to tillage, residue and nitrogen management. Soil Tillage Res 89:221–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Duguid KB, Montross MD, Radtke CW, Crofcheck CL, Wendt LM, Shearer SA (2009) Effect of anatomical fractionation on the enzymatic hydrolysis of acid and alkaline pretreated corn stover. Bioresour Technol 100:5189–5195CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ekenler M, Tabatabai MA (2002) Beta-glucosaminidase activity of soils: effect of cropping systems and its relationship to nitrogen mineralization. Biol Fertil Soils 36:367–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fageria NK (2004) Dry matter yield and shoot nutrient concentrations of upland rice, common bean, corn, and soybean grown in rotation on an Oxisol. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 35:961–974CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gavlak RG, Horneck DA, Miller RO (1994) Soil and plant tissue reference methods for the Western region. Western regional publication. WREP 125. University of Alaska, FairbanksGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Graham RL, Nelson R, Sheehan J, Perlack RD, Wright LL (2007) Current and potential U.S. corn stover supplies. Agron J 99:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Halvorson AD, Johnson JMF (2009) Corn cob characteristics in irrigated central Great Plains studies. Agron J 101:390–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hanway JJ (1962) Corn growth and composition in relation to soil fertility: I. Growth of different plant parts and relation between leaf weight and grain yield. Agron J 54:145–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Heggenstaller AH, Anex RP, Liebman M, Sundberg DN, Gibson LR (2008) Productivity and nutrient dynamics in bioenergy double-cropping systems. Agron J 100:1740–1748CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hoskinson RL, Karlen DL, Birrell SJ, Radtke CW, Wilhelm WW (2007) Engineering, nutrient removal, and feedstock conversion evaluations of four corn stover harvest scenarios. Biomass Bioe 31:126–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Johnson JMF, Barbour NW, Weyers SL (2007) Chemical composition of crop biomass impacts its decomposition. Soil Sci Soc Am J 71:155–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Johnson JMF, Papiernik SK, Mikha MM, Spokas K, Tomer MD, Weyers SL (2009) Soil processes and residue harvest management. In: Lal R, Steward B (eds) Carbon management, fuels, and soil quality. Taylor and Francis, LLC, New York, pp 1–44Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kapkiyai JJ, Karanja NK, Qureshi JN, Smithson PC, Woomer PL (1999) Soil organic matter and nutrient dynamics in a Kenyan Nitisol under long-term fertilizer and organic input management. Soil Bio Biochem 31:1773–1782CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Kung L Jr, Moulder BM, Mulrooney CM, Teller RS, Schmidt RJ (2008) The effect of silage cutting height on the nutritive value of a normal corn silage hybrid compared with brown midrib corn silage fed to lactating cows. J Dairy Sci 91:1451–1457CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Lewis AL, Cox WJ, Cherney JH (2004) Hybrid, maturity, and cutting height interactions on corn forage yield and quality. Agron J 96:267–274Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Li BY, Zhou DM, Cang L, Zhang HL, Fan XH, Qin SW (2007) Soil micronutrient availability to crops as affected by long-term inorganic and organic fertilizer applications. Soil Tillage Res 96:166–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Lindstrom MJ, Gupta SC, Onstad CA, Holt RF, Larson WE (1981) Crop residue removal and tillage—effects of soil erosion and nutrient loss in the Corn Belt. US Department of Agriculture, Ag Info. Bull. No. 442Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Moebius-Clune BN, Van Es HM, Idowu OJ, Schindelbeck RR, Moebius-Clune DJ, Wolfe DW et al (2008) Long-term effects of harvesting maize stover and tillage on soil quality. Soil Sci Soc Am J 72:960–969CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    NASS (2009) Quick stats. USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service, Washington, Available via http://www.nass.usda.gov/. Cited 10 Feb 2010Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Neylon JM, Kung L Jr (2003) Effects of cutting height and maturity on the nutritive value of corn silage for lactating cows. J Dairy Sci 86:2163–2169CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Ng TK, Busche RM, McDonald CC, Hardy RWF (1983) Production of feedstock chemicals. Science 219:733–740CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Paul EA, Clark FE (1996) Soil microbiology and biochemistry. Academic, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Salinas-Garcia JR, Baez-Gonzalez AD, Tiscareno-Lopez M, Rosales-Robles E (2001) Residue removal and tillage interaction effects on soil properties under rain-fed corn production in central Mexico. Soil Tillage Res 59:67–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    SAS (2002) SAS version 9.1. SAS Institute Inc, CaryGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Shinners KJ, Binversie BN, Muck RE, Weimer PJ (2007) Comparison of wet and dry corn stover harvest and storage. Biomass Bioe 31:211–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Shinners KJ, Boettcher GC, Hoffman DS, Munk JT, Muck RE, Weimer PJ (2009) Single-pass harvest of corn grain and stover: performance of three harvester configurations. Trans ASABE 52:51–60Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Technicon (1973) Technicon industrial method AA. ii no. 99-70 w. Sept. 1973. Chloride in water and waste water. Technicon Instrument Corporation, TarrytownGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Tisdall JM, Nelson WL, Beaton JD (1986) Soil fertility and fertilizers. Macmillan Publishing Company, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    US-EPA (2007) Method 3051a: microwave assisted acid digestion of sediments, sludges, soils, and oils Available via http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/testmethods/sw846/pdfs/3051a.pdf. Cited 22 Oct 2008
  38. 38.
    Wilhelm WW, Johnson JMF, Hatfield JL, Voorhees WB, Linden DR (2004) Crop and soil productivity response to corn residue removal: a literature review. Agron J 96:1–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Wilhelm WW, Johnson JMF, Karlen DL, Lightle DT (2007) Corn stover to sustain soil organic carbon further constrains biomass supply. Agron J 99:1665–1667CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Wilhelm WW, Johnson JMF, Lightle D, Barbour NW, Karlen DL, Laird DA et al (2010) Vertical distribution of corn stover dry mass grown at several U.S. locations. BioEnergy Res (in press)Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Yu F, Ruan R, Steele P (2008) Consecutive reaction model for the pyrolysis of corn cob. Trans ASABE 51:1023–1028Google Scholar

Copyright information

© US Government 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane M. F. Johnson
    • 1
  • Wally W. Wilhelm
    • 2
  • Douglas L. Karlen
    • 3
  • David W. Archer
    • 4
  • Brian Wienhold
    • 2
  • David T. Lightle
    • 5
  • David Laird
    • 3
  • John Baker
    • 6
  • Tyson E. Ochsner
    • 6
    • 10
  • Jeff M. Novak
    • 7
  • Ardell D. Halvorson
    • 8
  • Francisco Arriaga
    • 9
  • Nancy Barbour
    • 1
  1. 1.North Central Soil Conservation Research LaboratoryUSDA-Agricultural Research ServiceMorrisUSA
  2. 2.Agroecosystems Management Research UnitUSDA-Agricultural Research ServiceLincolnUSA
  3. 3.National Laboratory for Agriculture and the EnvironmentUSDA-Agricultural Research ServiceAmesUSA
  4. 4.Northern Great Plains Research LaboratoryUSDA-Agricultural Research ServiceMandanUSA
  5. 5.USDA-NRCS National Soil Survey CenterLincolnUSA
  6. 6.Soil and Water Management Research UnitUSDA-Agricultural Research ServiceSt. PaulUSA
  7. 7.Coastal Plains Research CenterUSDA-Agricultural Research ServiceFlorenceUSA
  8. 8.USDA-Agricultural Research ServiceFort CollinsUSA
  9. 9.National Soil Dynamics Research LaboratoryUSDA-Agricultural Research ServiceAuburnUSA
  10. 10.Department of Plant and Soil SciencesOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA

Personalised recommendations