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Corn Stover Fractions as a Function of Hybrid, Maturity and Site

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

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1009207.(doi:10.13031/2013.34839)
Authors:   Pierre-Luc Lizotte, Philippe Savoie, Mark Lefsrud
Keywords:   Corn stover, fractions, maturity, hybrid, moisture, yield, harvest

Six corn hybrids on three sites, in a 2500 to 2900 crop heat unit (CHU) range, were sampled weekly from early September to mid-November 2009. Dry matter (DM) yields and moisture content were estimated for grain and six stover components: lower stalk (below the first ear), upper stalk, lower leaves, upper leaves, cob and husk. At the expected grain harvest dates (late October, early November), total stover yield was similar to grain yield at the 2500 CHU site (7.4 t DM ha-1 with a stover to grain mass ratio of 1.01); total stover yield was higher at the 2900 CHU sites and relatively lower than grain yields (9.4 t DM ha-1 for stover, 11.2 t DM ha-1 for grain, a mass ratio of 0.84). The average fractions of stover were: cobs 19%, husk 11%, upper leaves 14%, lower leaves 15%, upper stalk 11% and lower stalk 31%. Some hybrids were leafier (up to 33% total leaves) and some hybrids were stemmier (up to 45% total stalks). Stover yield was nearly maximum in early September and declined by an average 42 kg DM ha-1 d-1 in the fall (about 2 t DM ha-1 over 50 days). Lower stalks were the wettest component (80% moisture until late October); other components, especially the leaves became very dry (less than 20% MC). MC of the entire stover declined gradually from 75% to 35% from September to November. The data will be used in multiple year analysis to estimate variations in stover yield and moisture, and to assess the value of fractional harvest (upper part, lower part, cobs only, etc.) of corn stover.

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