1 Friendly to the environment biomass production from kenaf and fiber sorghum T H E O F A N I S. A. G E M T O S, L A B O R A T O R Y O F F A R M M E C H A N I S A T I O N, D E P A R T M E N T O F A G R I C U L T U R E, C R O P P R O D U C T I O N A N D R U R A L E N V I R O N M E N T, U N I V E R S I T Y O F T H E S S A L Y, G R E E C E
2 Introduction Kenaf and Fibre Sorghum are two crops that can be used for fibre production as well as for biomass for energy production through ethanol production (second generation biofuels) or burning. They are two high yielding annual crops that can be cultivated mostly in South European countries
3 Second generation biofuels (i.e bioethanol), but also biomass use for burning, are expected to use crop residues and whole crops. The removal of all biomass can have several adverse effects to the soil and the ecosystem. The soil will remain uncovered by crop residues The total removal of biomass will reduce organic material inputs leading to reduced soil organic matter and reduce feed material for the soil fauna and microorganisms.
4 DIRECTIVE 2009/28/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 April 2009, Article 18 par. 3 requires that: Any relevant information on measures taken for soil, water and air protection, the restoration of degraded land, the avoidance of excessive water consumption in areas where water is scarce to be declared for the biofuels produced
5 The Directive takes into account energy from biofuels and bioliquids. The latter should contribute to a reduction of at least 35 % of greenhouse gas emissions in order to be taken into account. From 1 January 2017, their share in emissions savings should be increased to 50 %. We need not only to find suitable crops but also cropping practices that can achieve the set targets
6 Outline To make an account of the problems that whole plant use for second generation biofuels can cause to the soil and possible methods to alleviate them and secure the sustainability of the raw material production system. Some results of using alternative tillage methods will be presented and effects to the crop and the soil. An energy analysis will be given to assess the sustainability of the systems.
7 Risks of soil degradation A study funded by the European Commission on European soils revealed that six factors can be major threats (SOCO team): 1. Soil erosion by water and wind 2.Soil organic matter reduction 3. Soil biodiversity 4. Soil compaction 5. Soil pollution by heavy metals 6. Soil acidification
8 The first four factors will be affected by whole crop removal.
9 What second generation biofuels whole biomass use will cause It will cause: 1. The soil to remain bare for periods of the year enhancing erosion 2. The removal of all organic matter leading to reduction of soil organic matter 3. Soil compaction by the movement of heavy harvesting and transportation machinery 4. Reduce biodiversity
10 Soil erosion Is defined as the removal of soil particles from higher to lower parts of the land through the action of water runoff or the wind. The phenomenon is considered to start from the rain or irrigation water drops impact on bare soil. This impact breaks the soil aggregates, producing small soil particles that are closing soil surface pores reducing water infiltration and are easily moved by water or wind
11 Soil organic matter Is a basic factor of soil fertility as it binds the soil mineral to aggregates increasing their stability, improves water holding and cation exchange capacity, when decay provides N to the plants, it contributes to better soil structure. It is produced by the organic part of the plants. Most stable organic matter is produced by the high lignin content of the roots, while the cellulosic material of the aerial part is easily decomposed.
12 Recent research proved that without the cellulosic material of the aerial part the root biomass cannot be decomposed by the soil microorganisms. Therefore the whole biomass removal can affect also root biomass decomposition
13 Soil biodiversity Huge amounts of microorganisms and upper animals are living in the soil. They are the living soil. They are using biomass for their energy needs. Removal of the biomass will reduce their feedstock and cause reduction of their numbers and activities. Their activities in the soil are very important for soil fertility. But also for soil structure. Especially worms can improve soil structure.
14 Soil Compaction It is a destruction of soil structure due to the excess loads imposed by heavy machinery. It causes reduction of soil porosity (reduced water infiltration, reduced drainage, reduced water holding capacity), increases the energy consumption for soil tillage, causes difficulties in plant emergence. Biomass harvesting and heavy transportation vehicles, especially under wet soil conditions cause compaction.
15 How we can alleviate the problems At the moment research suggests that we should act in four directions: 1. Introduce crop rotations and keep the soil covered all the year round with minimum periods where the soil remains bare 2. Use cover crops as green manure by leaving them on/or in the soil 3. Use reduced or no tillage 4. Use controlled traffic or new mechanisation systems with small size, light machinery.
16 Material and Methods Several experiments are carried out to study the effects of tillage and crop rotation. A long term experiment comparing five tillage systems was run for the last16 years. The treatments were: 1. Conventional tillage (CT) with ploughing at cm in autumn and 2-3 passes of a disk harrow at 7-9 cm or a light cultivator at 6-8 cm for seedbed preparation. 2. Reduced tillage (HC) using a heavy cultivator at a depth of cm or a subsoiler at cm and 2 passes of a disk harrow or a light cultivator for seedbed preparation. 3. Reduced tillage (RC) with one pass of a rotary cultivator at cm for primary tillage, and one or two passes of a disk harrow or a light cultivator before planting.
17 4. Reduced tillage (DH) Primary and secondary tillage with a disk harrow at 6-8 cm. One or two passes in autumn or early in the winter for residue management and weed destruction and one or two passes for seedbed preparation before planting the crop. In the third year a field cultivator was used for secondary tillage In year 2012 we used for the Spring crop instead of disc harrow a strip tillage machine developed in the laboratory. 5. No-tillage (NT). Direct planting using a conventional pneumatic planting machine. The plots were split in two parts. In one part all residues were removed and added to the other plot. That way one plot had double mulching material.
18 Crop rotation
19 Results and Discussion Two crops were cultivated the first year. Sunflower and soybeans. Soil organic matter was increased from 1% at the beginning of the experiment to around 2% after 16 years of the treatments with crop residues and some times all the crop kept in the field.
20 Soil organic matter after 16 years of the experiment
21 Penetration resistance
22 Penetration resistance
23 Penetration resistance in strip tillage plots
25 Material and Methods A series of experiments were designed and carried out in order to study the production of sweet and fibre sorghum as a raw material for second generation alcohol production.
26 Varieties and Tillage experiment In one experiment, the following varieties of sorghum were tested: SUGARGRAZE, Dale, M81-E, THEIS, TOPPER 76-6 (sweet sorghum varieties) and PR 849 F, AMIGO, TOPSILO (fibre sorghum varieties), under two tillage systems i.e., conventional tillage (ploughing, seedbed preparation by disk or toothed harrows and planting by conventional pneumatic seeder) and no-till (planting with a no-till monosem planter).
27 Row spacing experiment In a second experiment two row spacing and plant population were tested for two of the varieties (SUGARGRAZE and PR 849 F). Row spacing at 0.75 m and m were tested under conventional tillage. Conventional tillage was used for all the plots.
28 Fertilisation and irrigation experiment In a third experiment, three levels of N fertiliser were tested at 150, 250 and 350 kg of N/ha. Additionally, in half of the experimental plots one water application in August were omitted in order to test this effect to the crop. Conventional tillage was used for all the plots.
31 Measurements Crop emergence (by counting plant numbers during emergence and the final population). In each plot after planting, a 2 m row was marked in the two middle rows of each experimental plot where population measurements were carried out. Crop growth by measuring the height of the plants and the date when the flowering started, The plant moisture content (by drying in an oven samples of plants) and the sugar content (by measuring the sugar content of the sip extracted by hand pressure and using a brix meter reflectometer).
32 crop yield was measured using a modified one row silage chopper with a bucket and a balance to weigh the yield. Based on sugar content, the moisture content of the stalks and the final yield, the sugar produced per ha were estimated.
33 Results: Varieties and tillage Κατεργασίες 7 6 Αριθμός φυτών / 2cm Συμβατική Ακαλλιέργεια /6/13 19/6/13 21/6/13 23/6/13 25/6/13 27/6/13 29/6/13 1/7/13 3/7/13 5/7/13 7/7/13 Ημερομηνία Varieties Number of Plants / ha Dale Topper 76-6 Sugargraze PR 849 F AMIGO TOPSILO 0 17/6 19/6 21/6 23/6 25/6 27/6 29/6 1/7 3/7 5/7 7/7 Date
50 Material and Methods We used the method to assess the energy sequestered to each input and output. We used literature data for the indirect energy input We used an instrumented tractor to measure all the direct energy inputs
51 Energy balance KENAF CT Inputs 100m PD 2 CT ENERGY INPUTS Tillage Passes Fixed Energy Inputs Variable Energy Inputs Energy of Agricultural Products Total (MJ/ha) (MJ/ha) (MJ/ha) (MJ/ha) Plough 1 152, , ,7 Disc harrow 3 121, , ,2 Field cultivator 1 26,74 435,65 462,4 Sowing Total 300, , ,3 Seed (kg/ha) Seed 4,00 415,44 Sowing 36,14 350,34 Fertilization Total 36,14 350,34 415,44 801,9 Fertilizer Units /ha Nitrogen ,60 Phosphorus ,00 Potasium ,40
52 Energy balance KENAF CT Inputs Application 6,34 124,23 Total 6,34 124, , ,6 Pesticide application active incredient quantity (kg/ha) 1, ,86 Application 4,32 60,62 Irrigation Total 4,32 60,62 393,86 458,8 Pumping depth (m) Total water suplies (m3/ha) Sprinkler irrigation ,4 2747,1 3146,5 Drip irrigation , , ,5 Total 670, , , ,0 Harvest Corn picker 391,7 698,8 Transportation Total 391,7 698,8 1090,5 Average transport distance (km) 242,32 473,36 Total 5 231,04 242,32 473,4 0,00 0,00 0,00 TOTAL ENERGY INPUTS 2638, , , ,50
53 Energy balance KENAF CT Outputs ENERGY OUTPUTS Seed Yield Energy Outputs Total Inputs Net Energy Energy Efficiency Energy Productivity (kg/ha) (MJ/ha) (MJ/ha) (MJ/ha) (kg/mj) #ΤΙΜΗ! #ΤΙΜΗ! #ΤΙΜΗ! Stalks ,5 5,09 0,27 Total , ,5 5,09 0,27 1,00
54 Energy balance Kenaf CT ENERGY BUDGET case ΧΩΡΟΣ ΓΙΑ ΔΗΜΙΟΥΡΓ ΙΑ ΠΙΝΑΚΑ Energy Budget CT 1 CT NT Energy Inputs (MJ/ha) 2 Tillage 4249 c Sowing , Fertilization Pesticide application Irrigation Harvest Transportation Total Yield (kg/ha) Stalks Energy Outputs (MJ/ha) Stalks Total Energy Budget Net Energy (MJ/ha) Energy Efficiency 5,09 5,15 4,06 Energy Productivity (kg/mj) 0,27 0,28 0,22
56 KENAF Energy Balance CT PD10 m 2 CT ENERGY INPUTS Tillage Passes Fixed Energy Inputs Variable Energy Inputs Energy of Agricultural Products Total (MJ/ha) (MJ/ha) (MJ/ha) (MJ/ha) Plough 1 152, , ,7 Disc harrow 3 121, , ,2 Field cultivator 1 26,74 435,65 462,4 Sowing Total 300, , ,3 Seed (kg/ha) Seed 4,00 415,44 Sowing 36,14 350,34 Fertilization Total 36,14 350,34 415,44 801,9 Fertilizer Units /ha Nitrogen ,60 Phosphorus ,00 Potasium ,40 Application 6,34 124,23 Total 6,34 124, , ,6 Pesticide application active incredient quantity (kg/ha) 1, ,86 Application 4,32 60,62 Total 4,32 60,62 393,86 458,8
57 KENAF Energy Balance CT PD10 m Irrigation Pumping depth (m) Total water suplies (m3/ha) Sprinkler irrigation ,4 1393,5 1792,9 10 Drip irrigation , , ,4 Total 670, , , ,3 Harvest Corn picker 391,7 698,8 Total 391,7 698,8 1090,5 Transportati on Average transport distance (km) 242,32 473,36 Total 5 231,04 242,32 473,4 0,00 0,00 0,00 TOTAL ENERGY INPUTS 2638, , , ,76
58 KENAF Energy Balance CT PD10 m ENERGY OUTPUTS Seed Yield Energy Outputs Total Inputs Net Energy Energy Efficiency Energy Productivity (kg/ha) (MJ/ha) (MJ/ha) (MJ/ha) (kg/mj) #ΤΙΜΗ! #ΤΙΜΗ! #ΤΙΜΗ! Stalks ,2 10,09 0,55 Total , ,2 10,09 0,55 1,00
59 KENAF Energy Balance NT PD10 m ENERGY OUTPUTS Seed Yield Energy Outputs Total Inputs Net Energy Energy Efficiency Energy Productivity (kg/ha) (MJ/ha) (MJ/ha) (MJ/ha) (kg/mj) #ΤΙΜΗ! #ΤΙΜΗ! #ΤΙΜΗ! Stalks ,0 8,16 0,44 Total , ,0 8,16 0,44 1,00
74 Conclusions Soil organic matter was increased in the 16 years of the experiment without residues removal from 1 to 2%. Soil organic matter content was lower in conventional tillage but the difference was small most probably due to the crop residues remaining in the field and crops not being totally harvested. Soil compaction was higher in the reduced or no till plots. Yield in Sunflower was higher in conventional plots with strip tillage and rotary cultivator. In soybeans was high in conventional as well as in reduced tillage plots (heavy cultivator and strip tillage).
75 CONCLUSIONS Sugar Graze gave the highest yield (17 t of dry matter/ha) followed by Amigo, PR489F, Dale and Topsilo. Sugar Graze and Dale gave higher yields with conventional tillage while Amigo, PR489F and TopSilo performed better with no-tillage. Sip sugar content increased till end October but the highest sugars yield was achieved at mid October indicating that respiration was higher than photosynthesis after the mid October.
76 Narrow row spacing gave the highest yield in dry matter and in sugars per ha for both varieties. Higher N applications and full irrigation gave the highest yields and the best sugars production per ha but the differences were not significant in all cases.
77 The energy balance of the two crops is positive and the energy efficiency high. There are several problems with the energy analysis of thee experiments comparing tillage systems. To have comparable results we have to use the same sowing date but one of the advantages of NT is that sowing can be earlier and in appropriate time. We have also to have the same inputs. But given that NT has lower yields then it is not fair to use the same inputs like fertiliser or even irrigation water. Another problem is the pumping depth of irrigation water
78 Acknowlegments The paper is based on data collected by the projects run by the Laboratory of Farm Mechanisation of the University of Thessaly funded by the Ministry of Education and the General Secretary of Research and Technology and the European Commission.
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