Farm Energy Production and Use Between Two Iowa Cropping Systems

Published Jan 1, 2013

In a Nutshell

Energy use in agriculture varies across cropping systems. This project explores the differences in energy use between two practical Midwest cropping systems. Diverse cropping systems, those with three or more crops, use a fraction of the energy inputs as compared to continuous corn. Dordt College established two farming system treatments in 2008: continuous corn (CC) versus a Gateway to Sustainability rotation (G2S) including corn, soybean, and oats with an under-seeding of red clover. PFI staff used the data to create a fossil fuel flow chart of the energy used to grow the different treatments. The G2S system is more efficient and can achieve similar yields per acre as the CC system.