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Spatial Analysis of Stover Moisture Content During Harvest Season in the U.S.

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 60(4): 1015-1023. (doi: 10.13031/trans.11898) @2017
Authors:   Oluwafemi A. Oyedeji, Shahab Sokhansanj, Erin Webb
Keywords:   Corn stover, Equilibrium moisture content, Field drying, Moisture content, Stover harvest, Typical Meteorological Year data.

Abstract. The moisture content of a maturing crop varies as the harvest season progresses. For crop residues such as corn stover, moisture content at the time of harvest can be as high as 75% (wet mass basis) to less than 20% depending on the geographic location (climate conditions) and stage of harvest. Biomass moisture content is critical for baling and extended storage. It is therefore essential to have an estimate of the quantities of corn stover available as wet or dry for various parts of the U.S. To this end, we analyzed hourly weather data (temperature, humidity, and rainfall) from the Typical Meteorological Year v.3 (TMY3) dataset developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. A recently published set of equations for calculating the moisture content of stover as a function of hourly temperature, humidity, and rainfall were used. The annual start and end of corn grain harvest along with annual grain production (in bushels) for each state were extracted from USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service reports. Using these datasets and moisture sorption equations, the percentage of corn stover tonnage with moisture content less than 20%, between 20% and 40%, or greater than 40% was estimated from the length of time that the biomass was in these moisture content ranges. These calculations were carried out for several locations within each of the states for which TMY data were available. It was concluded that about 37.2% of corn stover is dry (<20% moisture content), whereas 36.5% is wet (>40% moisture content) nationwide. The remaining 27.0% of corn stover is between 20% and 40% moisture content.

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