Thelen, K. D., B. E. Fronning, A. N. Kravchenko, D. H. Min, and G. P. Robertson. 2010. Integrating livestock manure with a corn–soybean bioenergy cropping system improves short-term carbon sequestration rates and net global warming potential. Biomass and Bioenergy 34:960-966.
Carbon cycling and the global warming potential (GWP) of bioenergy cropping systems with complete biomass removal are of agronomic and environmental concern. Corn growers who plan to remove corn stover as a feedstock for the emerging cellulosic ethanol industry will benefit from carbon amendments such as manure and compost, to replace carbon removed with the corn stover. The objective of this research was to determine the effect of beef cattle feedlot manure and composted dairy manure on short-term carbon sequestration rates and net global warming potential (GWP) in a corn–soybean rotation with complete corn-stover removal. Field experiments consisting of a corn–soybean rotation with whole-plant corn harvest, were conducted near East Lansing, MI over a three-year period beginning in 2002. Compost and manure amendments raised soil carbon © at a level sufficient to overcome the C debt associated with manure production, manure collection and storage, land application, and post-application field emissions. The net GWP in carbon dioxide equivalents for the manure and compost amended cropping systems was −934 and −784 g m−2 y−1, respectively, compared to 52 g m−2 y−1 for the non-manure amended synthetic fertilizer check. This work further substantiates the environmental benefits associated with renewable fuels and demonstrates that with proper management, the integration of livestock manures in biofuel cropping systems can enhance greenhouse gas (GHG) remediation.
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