Straw Harvesting Strategies to Provide Feedstock while Maintaining Soil and Environmental Quality
- Whole Farm
Collaborating LocationsUniversity of Saskatchewan
There is increasing demands for straw removed from farm fields, including for use as livestock feed and bedding, pulp, bioproducts and biofuel production. In particular, recent years of drought conditions have led to a greater interest in straw removal and use of straw from a variety of crops as a feed source. Straw retention is desirable for the return to soil of the carbon, macronutrients and micronutrients that are contained in the straw to maintain soil organic matter, microbial activity and available nutrient supply. Retention of straw also helps to reduce evaporation and increase water entry. However, production of large amounts of high-yielding cereal crops can result in issues with slow spring soil warming and interference with field operations.
Knowledge of the effects of straw removal in both low and high straw-production areas within landscapes and across regions is needed to determine those zones within individual field landscapes and across the province that are best suited for straw removal, from agronomic, environmental and economic perspectives.
- To determine how straw harvesting affects yield, soil properties, and environmental and economic implications