See more from this Session: Bioenergy Systems Community: II
Soybean production is an essential component of the farming industry in Missouri and the Midwest. In 2010, 5.15 million acres of soybean were harvested in Missouri - more acres than any other crop. Corn also plays a very important role in row crop production. The most common form of crop rotation in the Midwest is a corn-soybean rotation. This means that corn is planted in a field one year and soybean is planted in that field the next year. Yields from both of these crops are greater in a rotation than if the crop were grown continuously. This type of rotation also helps reduce weed and insect problems associated with planting the same crop year after year. After corn is harvested, a residue is left in the field that is known as corn stover. The cellulose in this residue can be used for ethanol production. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandates the use of 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022. Over 16 billion gallons of ethanol must be made from cellulose. However, several questions regarding the impact of corn stover removal remain unanswered. If this residue is to be used for ethanol, what amount should be removed and what impact does this have on the growth and development of the following year's soybean crop?