Moline, Illinois – Deere & Company, Archer Daniels Midland Company and Monsanto Company have agreed to collaborate on research to explore technologies and processes to turn crop residues into bioenergy products and feed. The companies will work together to identify environmentally and economically sustainable methods for the harvest, storage and transport of corn stover, the stalks, leaves and cobs of corn plants.
Stover is usually left on the field where it helps to reduce soil erosion and build soil organic matter. A 170-bushel-per-acre corn crop, the average last year in Iowa, also produces about 4 dry tons of stover. The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts that in 2008, farmers will harvest 12.3 billion bushels of corn, resulting in approximately 290 million tons of stover.
Challenges include adjusting collection rates to ensure that sufficient stover is left in the soil, and moisture in the stover at harvest that can present challenges in transportation and storage.
“As the world’s population grows, so will demand for food and energy,” said Dr. Todd Werpy, Vice-President, Research, Archer Daniels Midland. “Using non-food feedstocks for feed and energy is one way that agriculture can apply innovation to create renewable, sustainable solutions. There are a number of challenges associated with harvest, collection and storage of cellulosic biomass. This collaborative effort brings together three agricultural leaders to identify and address the complexities that come with commercializing a new feedstock.”