IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Maize ethanol feedstock production and net energy value as affected by climate variability and crop management practices


  • Persson, Tomas
  • Garcia y Garcia, Axel
  • Paz, Joel
  • Jones, Jim
  • Hoogenboom, Gerrit


Ethanol from various plant resources, especially maize, is increasingly being used as a substitute for fossil fuels. The production potential of ethanol from maize varies with weather and climatic conditions and crop management practices. The merits and prospects of ethanol production have been evaluated based on its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, economic viability and national energy security. The net energy value (NEV), i.e. the output energy after all non-renewable energy inputs have been accounted for, is a measure of energy gain. At the same time, the NEV can be an indicator for the long-term sustainability of bio-ethanol production, regardless of other conditions e.g. climate change scenarios, global trade restrictions, or local variability in natural resources such as water availability. Crop management practices directly affect the NEV of ethanol. Moreover, both crop management practices and climate variability affect the NEV through the grain yield. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of crop management practices and climate variability on grain yield of maize for ethanol production and ethanol NEV for conditions that represent the southeastern USA. Maize grain yield was simulated with the dynamic crop growth model CSM-CERES-Maize and ethanol NEV was calculated using the simulated yield levels and crop management practices. The simulations were conducted for conditions representing Mitchell County, Georgia, USA, using weather data from 1939 to 2006 and local soil profile information. The impact of irrigation, nitrogen fertilizer, planting date and El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phases were determined for the maize cultivars DeKalb DKC 61-72 (RR2), Pioneer 31D58 and Pioneer 31G98. Crop management practices and ENSO phase had a significant impact on ethanol feedstock production and NEV. The NEV of ethanol produced from irrigated maize was more than two times higher and varied less than the NEV of ethanol from rainfed maize. NEV of ethanol produced from maize grown during La Niña years was significantly higher than maize grown during El Niño years, both under rainfed and irrigated conditions. This study showed the importance of crop management practices and climate variability on ethanol feedstock productivity and long-term energy sustainability as assessed by the NEV. We discuss methods of implementing the findings of this study in practical farming e.g. through market mechanisms and governmental initiatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Persson, Tomas & Garcia y Garcia, Axel & Paz, Joel & Jones, Jim & Hoogenboom, Gerrit, 2009. "Maize ethanol feedstock production and net energy value as affected by climate variability and crop management practices," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 100(1-3), pages 11-21, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:100:y:2009:i:1-3:p:11-21

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tad Patzek & S.-M. Anti & R. Campos & K. ha & J. Lee & B. Li & J. Padnick & S.-A. Yee, 2005. "Ethanol From Corn: Clean Renewable Fuel for the Future, or Drain on Our Resources and Pockets?," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 319-336, September.
    2. Swanton, Clarence J. & Murphy, Stephen D. & Hume, David J. & Clements, David R., 1996. "Recent improvements in the energy efficiency of agriculture: Case studies from Ontario, Canada," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 399-418, December.
    3. Shapouri, Hosein & Duffield, James A. & Wang, Michael Q., 2002. "The Energy Balance of Corn Ethanol: An Update," Agricultural Economics Reports 34075, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    4. Ryan, Lisa & Convery, Frank & Ferreira, Susana, 2006. "Stimulating the use of biofuels in the European Union: Implications for climate change policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(17), pages 3184-3194, November.
    5. repec:eee:ecomod:v:210:y:2008:i:3:p:312-326 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Poudel, Sushil Raj & Marufuzzaman, Mohammad & Bian, Linkan, 2016. "A hybrid decomposition algorithm for designing a multi-modal transportation network under biomass supply uncertainty," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 1-25.
    2. repec:eee:agiwat:v:195:y:2018:i:c:p:154-171 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Schaeffer, Roberto & Szklo, Alexandre Salem & Pereira de Lucena, André Frossard & Moreira Cesar Borba, Bruno Soares & Pupo Nogueira, Larissa Pinheiro & Fleming, Fernanda Pereira & Troccoli, Alberto & , 2012. "Energy sector vulnerability to climate change: A review," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 1-12.
    4. Chen, Chien-Wei & Fan, Yueyue, 2012. "Bioethanol supply chain system planning under supply and demand uncertainties," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 150-164.
    5. repec:eee:rensus:v:82:y:2018:i:p3:p:3907-3912 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Li, Lin & Sun, Zeyi & Yao, Xufeng & Wang, Donghai, 2016. "Optimal production scheduling for energy efficiency improvement in biofuel feedstock preprocessing considering work-in-process particle separation," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 474-481.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:100:y:2009:i:1-3:p:11-21. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.