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Agronomy 2016, 6(1), 2; doi:10.3390/agronomy6010002

Silage Maize and Sugar Beet for Biogas Production in Rotations and Continuous Cultivation: Dry Matter and Estimated Methane Yield

1
Institute of Sugar Beet Research, Holtenser Landstraße 77, 37079 Göttingen, Germany
2
Department of Agronomy and Organic Farming, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Betty-Heimann-Straße 5, 06120 Halle, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Dan Mullan and Peter Langridge
Received: 9 November 2015 / Revised: 18 December 2015 / Accepted: 23 December 2015 / Published: 2 January 2016
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Abstract

Since silage maize is the main crop grown for biogas production (biomass crop) in Germany; its increasing cultivation is critically discussed in terms of social and agronomical aspects. To investigate if sugar beet is suitable as an alternative biomass crop to silage maize; three-year field trials with both biomass crops in rotations with winter wheat (food crop) and continuous cultivation were conducted at three highly productive sites. Dry matter (DM) yield per hectare was measured via field trials whereas methane yield per hectare was estimated via a calculation. Higher annual DM yield was achieved by silage maize (19.5–27.4 t∙ha−1∙a−1) compared to sugar beet root (10.7–23.0 t∙ha−1∙a−1). Dry matter yield was found to be the main driver for the estimated methane yield. Thus; higher estimated methane yield was produced by silage maize (6458–9388 Nm3∙ha−1) with overlaps to sugar beet root (3729–7964 Nm3∙ha−1). We; therefore; classify sugar beet as a suitable alternative biomass crop to silage maize; especially when cultivated in crop rotations with winter wheat. Additionally; we found that the evaluation of entire crop rotations compared to single crops is a more precise approach since it includes rotational effects. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomass; bioenergy; winter wheat; highly productive sites; Central Europe biomass; bioenergy; winter wheat; highly productive sites; Central Europe
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Brauer-Siebrecht, W.; Jacobs, A.; Christen, O.; Götze, P.; Koch, H.-J.; Rücknagel, J.; Märländer, B. Silage Maize and Sugar Beet for Biogas Production in Rotations and Continuous Cultivation: Dry Matter and Estimated Methane Yield. Agronomy 2016, 6, 2.

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