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Silage maize and sugar beet for biogas production in crop rotationsand continuous cultivation – energy efficiency and land demand

  • Autor/in: Jacobs, A., W. Brauer-Siebrecht, O. Christen, P. Götze, H.-J. Koch, J. Rücknagel, B. Märländer
  • Jahr: 2016
  • Zeitschrift: Field Crop Research
  • Seite/n: doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2016.06.008
  • Stichworte: Bioenergy, Biomass, Energy input, Net-energy yield, Winter wheat, Central Europea


Empirical data on energy performance (net-energy yield, energy efficiency, land demand) of biomass cropcultivation are needed for policy and agronomic decision making. Energy input and energy performanceof the cultivation of silage maize (SM), sugar beet (SB), and winter wheat (WW) in crop rotations andcontinuous cultivation were evaluated on the basis of three field experiments on highly productive sitesin Germany. Silage maize and SB root were considered as crops for biogas production and WW as a foodcrop. Even if SM cultivation needed the largest energy input across sites and years (19–22 GJ ha⁻¹a⁻¹), theenergy output compensated for it and largest net-energy yield (212–317 GJ ha⁻¹a⁻¹), energy efficiency(11.4–17.1 GJ GJ⁻¹), and smallest land demand (33–48m² GJ⁻¹) were observed. For SB cultivation, energyinput (15–19 GJ ha⁻¹a⁻¹) and energy performance were lower (119–266 GJ ha⁻¹a⁻¹, 9.1–14.7 GJ GJ⁻¹,38–279 m² GJ⁻¹, respectively). Differences between both crops were significant (p ≤ 0.05), but not in allcases. Winter wheat cultivation required an energy input of 13–18 GJ ha⁻¹a⁻¹and showed the lowestenergy performance (103–119 GJ ha⁻¹a⁻¹, 6.6–8.6 GJ GJ−1, 84–102 m² GJ−1, respectively). The net-energyyield and land demand values presented are among the largest and the lowest, respectively, for rainfedCentral European conditions. As the preceding crops, SB induced a higher energy performance of thesubsequent WW than SM. When taking such crop rotation effects into account for the overall evaluation,we concluded that SB root as a biomass crop is a suitable alternative to SM.
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