Sugarcane Straw Removal:Implications to Soil Fertility and Fertilizer Demand in Brazil

Cherubin, Maurício Roberto and Lisboa, Izaias P. and Silva, Aijânio G.B. and Varanda, Letícia L. and Bordonal, Ricardo O. and Carvalho, João L.N. and Otto, Rafael and Pavinato, Paulo Sergio and Soltangheisi, Amin and Pellegrino Cerri, Carlos Eduardo (2019) Sugarcane Straw Removal:Implications to Soil Fertility and Fertilizer Demand in Brazil. Bioenergy Research, 12. pp. 888-900. ISSN 1939-1234

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Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) straw is a promising feedstock for bioelectricity and cellulosic ethanol in Brazil, but some straw is also needed to sustain nutrient cycling and crop yields. A literature review and two field studies were conducted to quantify above-ground macronutrient accumulation by sugarcane. Five straw removal scenarios using different amounts of biomass and nutrient composition data of top (green) and bottom (dry) leaves were constructed to estimate fertilizer requirements associated with straw removal in central southern Brazil. Calculated straw removal for five scenarios (S1 to S5) was 3.5, 7, 3, 6, and 12 Mg ha−1, respectively. By removing 12 Mg ha−1 of straw (S5), the potential N, P, K, Ca, Mg, and S removal was 69, 7, 92, 45, 16, and 14 kg ha−1, respectively. It represents a nutrient (NPK) replacement cost of US$ 90.00 ha−1 or US$ 7.60 per Mg of removed straw. The scenario analysis shows that less-impacting strategies are those that maintain top leaves in the field and harvesting only bottom leaves (S1 and S2), whereas total removal (S5) could double NPK-fertilizer consumption in sugarcane fields by 2050. Our findings provide stakeholder guidelines for improved straw management, establish an economic value for accumulated plant nutrients, and promote both socio-economic and environmental benefits of more sustainable bioenergy production in Brazil.

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Journal Article
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Bioenergy Research
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11 Mar 2020 11:55
Last Modified:
21 Sep 2023 02:51