Biomass crops benefit marginal soils
Besides improving soil and addressing environmental issues, biomass plants can be a profitable crop when used to provide energy, whether that is being co-fired with coal in a power plant or, potentially, being processed into liquid fuels.
"If the markets come into play as we anticipate they will, these soils could be consistent in what they can produce in terms of biomass," Kitchen said. "That could provide a flow of income for farmers that would diversify their enterprise and make these marginal soils more productive. That's what I think these crops will demonstrate over time."
Kitchen, an adjunct associate professor at the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, researches farming systems that maximize grain production and minimize nutrient losses.