An interesting study by Wageningen University which unfortunately ignores completely livestock in the system, crop residues playing a major as feed. System specific trade-off analyses are certainly needed to assess competitive use of crop residues to either feed animals, maintain soil productivity or produce energy looking both at short and long term impacts on livelihoods and system productivity.


In Science today:

‘….Although Brazilian sugar cane is the most competitive ethanol feedstock today, the United States and Europe are investing heavily in next-generation approaches. In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy alone budgeted more than $325 million for biofuel science and demonstration plants. Much of that effort is aimed at “cellulosic ethanol,” or how to obtain fermentable sugars cheaply from straw, wood chips, and other plant material normally considered waste’

Science 327 (5968), 928. [DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5968.928]
Summary »Full Text »PDF »

Note: Next generation biofuel might have a major impact on livestock feeding, new opportunities for feeding monograstics and could be a treat to sustainability in some production systems. It will create  new competitive interests for cereal crop residues (conservation agriculture practitioners strongly advocating for keeping large amounts of residues in the field to maintain or improve long term productivity)