Energy crops are grown with the intention of using the biomass as a fuel feedstock. There are several methods for conversion of biomass into fuels, and there are multiple crops that may be suitable as feedstock for specific processes.
Replacing row crops with energy crops or integrating energy crops within the row crop landscape decreases erosion, surface runoff, and leaching losses in the area implemented, thus decreasing the loss of both nitrate-N and P. There is substantial nitrate-N reduction potential, with research indicating 72% nitrate-N concentration reduction and 34% reduction in P load with conversion from row-crop production. Additional benefits include increased wildlife habitat, reduced soil erosion, and enhanced soil physical properties.
As we left the last field, Gary looked over, chuckled and said, “So that’s part of my story. I just wish I was 20 years younger so I could stick around and enjoy all this stuff.”