Optimal Fertilizer Application and Crop Choice betweenA Perennial Bioenergy Feedstock and an Annual Crop
Xia “Vivian” Zhou, Christopher D. Clark, Dayton M. Lambert, Burton C. English

The objective of this research is to develop a modeling framework to aid in the simulation and empirical analysis of crop choice and optimal fertilizer application rates for bioenergy and conventional crops over lands of varying quality. Lower input use and reduced nutrient runoff are often-cited benefits of bioenergy crop production. Accounting these benefits requires an understanding of the temporal dynamics of fertilizer application, nutrient carryover, and runoff. Fertilizer carryover is the amount of fertilizer applied in previous production periods available for crops in the current growing period. Fertilizer runoff refers to fertilizer that has leached off the field and is no longer available to plants. The optimal available and applied amounts of nitrogen along with the present values of net returns for a pre-determined planning horizon are simulated for switch grass and corn using yield response data.Net returns for both crops increase as carryover rates increase but decrease as runoff rates increase. Switch grass appears to be more profitable than corn only on the most marginal lands where fertilizer runoff exceeds 30%.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jaes.v4n1a1