Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Field Narrows For Cover Crops In Biofuel Production

Date:
October 19, 2009
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Scientists are looking for cover crop perennials that provide the best balance in biofuel production between agronomic success and environmental sustainability.

ARS agronomist Jeremy Singer has identified Kentucky bluegrass and white clover as two promising perennial cover crops to be grown with corn for biofuel production that may provide a good balance between agronomic success and environmental sustainability.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Jeremy Singer, ARS

An Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist is looking for cover crop perennials that provide the best balance in biofuel production between agronomic success and environmental sustainability. This work is being supported by the Sun Grant Initiative, a national network of land-grant universities and federally funded laboratories working together to study, produce, and commercialize renewable, biobased energy technologies.

ARS agronomist Jeremy Singer, who works at the National Soil Tilth Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, is conducting this research as part of a three-component study of optimizing corn cultivation for biofuel production. He’s evaluating perennial grass crops to assess their potential for mitigating soil erosion and enhancing soil organic matter even in fields where every bit of corn and stover—stalk, leaves and all—is harvested either for grain or cellulosic ethanol production.

Perennial groundcovers’ root systems may contribute enough carbon to the soil to offset the loss of carbon when stover is removed. Cover crops also provide habitat for beneficial insects, facilitate water infiltration, help hold nitrogen in the soil, suppress weeds and reduce the runoff of agricultural chemicals.

Results from Singer’s first season in the field indicated that white clover or Kentucky bluegrass were promising cover crop candidates worthy of additional study. On the other hand, creeping red fescue added notable amounts of carbon to the soil, but was very competitive with corn.

When the optimum groundcover has been identified, using no-till and strip-till cultivation practices in the corn-groundcover system will reduce the amount of fossil fuel needed to prepare and plant the crops. This reduced tillage, in turn, will decrease greenhouse gas emissions and require fewer energy inputs than using conventional tillage—another prospective plus for farmers and fields alike.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "The Field Narrows For Cover Crops In Biofuel Production." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091002101613.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2009, October 19). The Field Narrows For Cover Crops In Biofuel Production. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091002101613.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "The Field Narrows For Cover Crops In Biofuel Production." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091002101613.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 13, 2014) Roars of excitement as a proud lioness shows off her four cubs at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins