Energetics of low-input corn production
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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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