Alfalfa and corn silage, grown in rotation, have long been the primary high quality forages harvested to support the dairy industry in Wisconsin. However, removal of essentially all plant residues with corn silage production results in excessive erosive soil loss (Gallagher et al., 1996), prompting the need for alternative soil conserving systems. The proposed removal of stover for biofuel feedstock after corn grain harvest will result in additional land prone to soil and nutrient runoff because of a lack of cover. Furthermore, the ever-increasing cost of nitrogen fertilizer encourages the search for cropping systems that rely on biologically fixed nitrogen for both corn grain and silage production.
Soil Science Extension
University of Wisconsin Madison