Crop Residue – A Valuable Resource
by Don Hofstrand (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center) Crop residue, traditionally considered as “trash” or agricultural waste, is increasingly being viewed as a valuable resource. Corn stalks, corn cobs, wheat straw and other leftovers from grain production are now being viewed as a resource with economic value. If the current trend continues, crop residue will be a “co-product” of grain production where both the grain and the residue have significant value.
The emergence of crop residue as a valuable resource has evolved to the point where there are competing uses for it. In this article we will discuss these competing uses and recent research on the topic. … (T)he high processing cost, difficulty, and cost of gathering, storing and transporting crop residues is problematic. Regardless, the push to develop commercially viable cellulosic ethanol processes is moving forward. …(In) many parts of the country, beef cows are placed in corn fields after harvest to graze on the residue and any grain remaining in the field. Also, crop residues are harvested, stored and fed to livestock during the winter. Crop residues, especially straw from small grains, are used for livestock bedding. … Crop residues can be a feedstock for composite products such as fiberboard, paper, liquid fuels and others. READ MORE and MORE