The Alfalfa/Corn Rotations Workshop will offer a close look at the benefits of an alfalfa/corn production system as it relates to cellulosic ethanol. This system can offer a sustainable approach to help the nation reduce its dependence on foreign oil sources. The tremendous production capacity of the Corn Belt must be harnessed if we are to meet our national goals for bioenergy production, without compromising traditional food/feed supplies.

An alfalfa/corn rotation offers unique benefits as a dedicated lignocellulosic production system:

  • Alfalfa is a perennial legume crop widely grown throughout the U.S. Corn Belt
  • Alfalfa does not require nitrogen fertilizer
  • Corn supplemental nitrogen is reduced by 75% over 2 years in an alfalfa/corn rotation
  • Corn yields are increased by 5-15% following alfalfa
  • Alfalfa can provide high yields of feed protein
  • Alfalfa/corn rotations reduce nitrate concentrations in soil and drainage water
  • Alfalfa prevents erosion
  • Alfalfa leaves and stems can be separated, using the leaves as a high protein feed source and the stems as biomass for cellulosic ethanol production

The goal of the workshop is to bring together leading forage and corn agronomists, ethanol producers, and industry representatives in the Corn Belt to develop an action plan to reap the environmental and economic benefits of an alfalfa/corn rotation system.