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This is a picture of a field of switchgrass.

NDSU offers a wealth of information on Biofuels topics.  Dr. Cole Gustafson writes regular columns on various renewable energy topics in his NDSU Biofuels Columns.   The Department of Agribusiness & Applied Economics has developed an Excel spreadsheet titled Producer Model for Biomass Comparison that can be used by producers to determine potential for income from biomass production on their farms.

Spreadsheet decision aid for prioritizing corn harvest and biomass collection activities in North Dakota. Collecting corn cob or stover can be a challenge while trying to get the grain harvest done on time because of the limitation in available harvest field days in North Dakota. In addition, corn producers do not have sufficient information to evaluate the economic investment returns from producing corn stover. The goal of this spreadsheet is to describe our economic stochastic simulation results which can be used to assist corn producers in delineating the impact a new corn stover harvest activity would have on their operation. In the spreadsheet, we simulated 1,000 harvest field time scenarios based on the available fall corn harvest field days in North Dakota. Each simulated scenario generates a different set of results. We use three stochastic linear programming models to analyze farmers’ harvest activities under 1) corn grain only harvest option, 2) simultaneous corn grain and cob (one-pass) harvest option and 3) separate corn grain and stover (two-pass) harvest option. Under the corn grain only harvest option, our findings show that farmers are able to complete harvesting corn grain and achieve profit maximization in a fairly short amount of time with existing combine harvest capacity. Under the simultaneous corn grain and cob harvest option, corn grain harvest speed or capacity diminishes due to the attachment of cob harvester to the back of combine which results in harvest slowdown. Because of limited availability of harvest field time due to adverse weather, this reduction in harvest capacity results in some corn acres being left unharvested. This in turn can reduce corn grain revenue generated by farmers. Our results indicate that the slowdown in combine harvest capacity causes farmers’ net returns from harvesting both grain and cob to be lower than the net returns from harvesting corn grain only. Under the third option of separate corn grain and stover harvest option, time allocation will be the main challenge. With limited availability of harvest field time, not enough field days exist to both collect grain and stover in two separate operations on all corn acres. Our findings suggest that farmers may find it optimal to allocate most of their time to harvesting grain, and then proceed to bale stover if time permits at the end of the harvest season.


Celluosic Biofuels Archived Webinar Series 2010

Brought to you by National eXtension and the High Plains Extension Energy Team.  This seminar focused on issues related to cellulosic biofuels beginning with an industry update on March 26th. For more information archived presentations from previous years. Click the following link: Biofuels Web Seminar series

  • State of the Industry: Corn and Cellulosic Ethanol, Friday March 26, 2010. View Archived Presentation
  • Economics of Ethanol and the New Cellulosic Industry, Friday April 30, 2010.  View archived presentation
  • Cellulosic Biofuel Logistics, Friday May 28, 2010, 11:00 a.m. Central Time. Speaker: Dr. John Cundiff, Virginia Tech University. View archived presentation
  • Agronomic Impacts of Cellulosic Material Harvest - Perspectives from the Eastern and Western Corn Belt. Presenters: Dr Greg Roth, Penn State University and Bob McGrath Imperial Young Farmers and Ranchers View Archived Presentations
  • Contracting Matters: A Discussion of Key Legal Considerations in Biomass Production, Harvesting, and Storage contracts. Presenter: Joe Thompson - Stoel Rives LLP. View Archived Presentation
  • Real Green from Real Green - Show My Energy Coooperative . Presenter: Steve Flick - Show Me Energy Cooperative. View Archived Presentation

NDSU Extension service publications relating to biofuels:

Biofuels Presentations:

Growing the Bioeconomy: Solutions for Sustainability Conference Presentations

  • Biomass Handling, Storage and Logistics
  • Agronomics of producing Switchgrass and Miscanthus x giganteus
  • Profitability of Converting to Cellulosic Biofuel Crops
2-hour recorded session includes all three presentations

NDSU, Dept. 7620

P.O. Box 6050

Fargo, ND  58108-6050

Phone: 701.231.7261

Fax: 701.231.1008

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