Effect of Bioenergy Crop Residue Removal on Secondary and Micronutrients in Minnesota Soils


Start Date: 2010

Principal Investigator: Deborah Allan

Organization: University of Minnesota, Department of Soil, Water and Climate

Status: Complete

Background Information:

The development of bioenergy products is essential to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The use of cellulosic biomass for fuel production is one alternative, with corn stover being a potential feedstock for bioenergy- and bio-based products.


In the first year of a two-year study, the question was asked, How much residue can safely be removed while maintaining cropping systems’ sustainability? Production of biofuels can alter nutrient removal by the amount of residue removed and changes in crop species and plant parts harvested.


The objective of the second year was to evaluate the availability and removal of secondary nutrients (calcium [Ca], magnesium [Mg] and sulfur [S]) and micronutrients in soil and plants at three Minnesota locations with varying corn residue removal rates in a continuous-corn cropping system. Year one of the study included ongoing experiments that only determine nutrient balances for total nitrogen (N) and extractable phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). In addition, two soil quality indicators that are sensitive to management changes were measured: aggregate stability and particulate organic matter.

Key Findings:

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