56-37 Considerations When Harvesting Corn-Based Biomass.

See more from this Division: A10 Bioenergy and Agroindustrial Systems
See more from this Session: Bioenergy Production, Modeling, Sustainability, and Policy
Monday, November 1, 2010
Long Beach Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Lower Level
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Daniel Davidson and Greg Horstmeier, DTN / Progressive Farmer, Omaha, NE
Across the Corn Belt, corn-based biomass will become the biofeedstock of choice. With more than 88 million acres of corn grown annually there is an opportunity to remove some of this biomass for direct use as bioenergy or as a biorefinery feedstock. Corn cobs or corn fodder, a combination of leaves, stalks, husks and cobs are all potential materials of choice. Corn cobs likely will be the initial feedstock of choice because their removal carries less environmental consequences. However corn fodder will be the long term source because of the sheer tonnage produced per acre. Cornstalks also can be used, but there is a question of how much can they be removed while retaining enough crop residue to keep fields in compliance with conservation regulations. A number of different methods have been developed for harvesting corn cobs including the corn cob mix (CCM), whole cobs and a combination of cobs and fodder. Each method requires different harvesting and handling equipment and labor requirements; each has distinct advantages and disadvantages as well as costs and profit potential. Growers who decide to harvest corn-based biomass must be aware of the logistical issues, costs and profit potential before deciding to start a biomass harvesting enterprise. This presentation will review the harvesting methods, harvesting and handling logistics and the economics growers must consider.