Purdue researchers says government support for stover could lead to cropping shift

In Indiana, making biofuel from corn crop residue could become economically viable for farmers with government support and, therefore, lead to a major shift in crop rotation practices favoring more continuous corn plantings, Purdue University researchers conclude.

The researchers concluded that the supply of stover-based bio-gasoline would be very limited at low levels of crude oil prices in particular when the government does not support bio-gasoline production. But with a bio-gasoline subsidy of $1.01 per gallon, the market would produce significant amounts of bio-gasoline, especially at medium and higher crude prices.

The researchers projected that with a viable corn stover market and stover at a farm price of $85.40 a ton, a large majority of farmers would find it profitable to harvest stover.

If converting corn stover to biofuel becomes profitable, either because of market forces or government supports, then farmers would consider revenue from both stover and corn in making planting decisions, the researchers said. If the joint profits from corn and corn stover are higher than from soybean production, the researchers said farmers likely would grow more corn.

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