Title page for ETD etd-06082009-171129

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Ess, Daniel R.
URN etd-06082009-171129
Title Energetics of low-input corn production
Degree Master of Science
Department Agricultural Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Vaughan, David H. Committee Chair
Cundiff, John S. Committee Member
Luna, John M. Committee Member
Perumpral, John V. Committee Member
  • Legumes
Date of Defense 1990-12-05
Availability restricted
This study compares the energy costs of synthesizing, distributing, and applying manufactured nitrogen fertilizer to the overall energy costs associated with nitrogen-fixing legume production and use. The energetics of com silage and com grain production under standard and alternative practices are examined. Economic analyses of crop production practices are used to aid the selection of recommended alternative practices.

In corn silage production, cover-cropped treatments had a significant advantage over standard practice treatments in terms of overall energy expenditures for field operations. Cover-cropped no-till treatments required an average energy expenditure of 9026 MJ/ha compared to 19,763 MJ/ha required by the standard-practice no-till treatment. Cover-cropped treatments that used disking to kill the cover crops required an average energy expenditure of 9781 MJ/ha compared to 18,488 MJ /ha required by the standard-practice winter-fallow treatment. Alternative-practice treatments that utilized vetches to provide nitrogen for com production perfonned significantly better than standard-practice treatments in tenns of energy use per unit of crop output. In addition, the alternative hairy vetch - no-till treatment produced a $33/ha greater average net revenue than the standard-practice no-till treatment.

Weed control energy requirements for cover-cropped ridge-tillage com grain production were compared. Broadcast application of pre-emergence herbicides required an energy expenditure of 1160 MJ fha. Cultivation of ridges to control weeds consumed 380 MJ/ha. Economic costs of ridge cultivation were $14/ha. Broadcast application of pre-emergence herbicides cost $49/ha.

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