Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Scientia Agricola]]> vol. 70 num. 5 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>How much sugarcane trash should be left on the soil?</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Utilization of trash</b>: <b>a view from the agronomic and industrial perspective</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Residual biomass potential of commercial and pre-commercial sugarcane cultivars</b>]]> Sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) is an efficient and sustainable alternative for energy generation compared to non-renewable sources. Currently, during the mechanized harvest process, the straw left in the field can be used in part for the second generation ethanol and increasing the electric energy production. Thus, this study aimed to provide information on the potential for residual biomass cultivars of sugarcane cropping system. This study provides the following information: yield of straw, depending on the calculated leaf area index and the number of tillers per linear meter; primary energy production of several sugarcane genotypes; contribution of dry tops and leaves; biomass yield; and evaluation of fiber, cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Preliminary results obtained by researchers of the State of São Paulo, Brazil, and reCviews related studies are presented. The results suggest that the production of sugarcane straw content varies according to the cultivars; the greater mass of sugarcane straw is in the top leaves and that the potential for the crude energy production of sugarcane per area unit can be increased using fiber-rich species or species that produce more straw. The straw indexes was shown to be a good indicator and allow the estimation of straw volumes generated in a sugarcane crop. The cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin composition in sugarcane is distinct among varieties. Therefore, it is possible to develop distinct biomass materials for energy production and for the development of sugarcane mills using biochemical processes and thermal routes. <![CDATA[<b>Assessment of sugarcane trash for agronomic and energy purposes in Brazil</b>]]> Due to new possibilities for using sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) trash for electricity generation, and the production of 2nd generation ethanol and others chemicals, the interest for its recovery has increased. However, the question of how much trash can be removed from sugarcane field still needs to be clarified. This study evaluated the amount of dry matter, nutrients content, structural compounds and efficiency of the enzymatic hydrolysis of the hydrothermal pretreated materials for tops and dry leaves in samples from sugarcane varieties. Tops and dry leaves present differences in nutrients content and moisture. Therefore, the amount of trash to be collected should not be simply based on percentages, but also should take into account the different fractions of the crop residues. For instance, around 80 % of N, P and K were derived from tops. Therein, the environmental indicators of the entire chain of sugarcane could be benefited because more nutrients would be recycled and less mineral fertilizers might be used for sugarcane production if tops are left on the field. Further, the tops have seven times more moisture than dry leaves and higher amounts of extractives (organic compounds of low molecular weight). Moreover, as the result of yield obtained in the pretreatment steps for dry leaves were superior to the tops and the glucose yields obtained in the enzymatic hydrolysis step were similar, it can be predicted that for second generation ethanol production, it is more viable to recover parts of the dry leaves fraction, leaving the tops on the field. <![CDATA[<b>Contribution of nitrogen from sugarcane harvest residues and urea for crop nutrition</b>]]> Sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) harvested without burning provides a substantial amount of remains (trash) on soil profiles which can be decomposed and release nutrients contributing to reduce fertilizer needs. The contribution of nitrogen (N) from sugarcane plant residues and fertilizer in sugarcane nutrition was assessed. Plant cane treatments were micro plots of 15N-labeled urea, sugarcane trash and root system; the last two to simulate the previous crop residues incorporated into the soil after crop renewal. For ratoons, N-ammonium nitrate (N-AN) micro plots, 150 kg ha-1 of N-AN and control (0 kg ha-1) were set up to evaluate the contribution of trash in N supply and quantify the effects of N-fertilizer on N-trash mineralization. The N balances derived from each 15N source were calculated after four crops and resulted in: 15N-urea applied at planting, 31 % was recovered by plant cane, 12 % by the following ratoons, 20 % remained in the soil and 37 % was not found in the soil-system (NOC). For crop residues 15N-trash + roots 26 % was recovered by sugarcane, 51 % remained in soil, and 23 % was NOC. N-fertilizer applied to ratoons nearly doubled the amount of N from green harvest residues recovered by sugarcane; 17 vs. 31 %. Water balances and crop evapotranspiration were correlated with 15N-sources recoveries and cumulative N recovery presented a positive correlation with evapotranspiration (2005 to 2009). The 15N balances indicated that crop residues are supplementary sources of N for sugarcane and may contribute to reduce N fertilizer needs since trash is annually added to the soil. <![CDATA[<b>Carbon stock and humification index of organic matter affected by sugarcane straw and soil management</b>]]> The maintenance of sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) straw on a soil surface increases the soil carbon (C) stocks, but at lower rates than expected. This fact is probably associated with the soil management adopted during sugarcane replanting. This study aimed to assess the impact on soil C stocks and the humification index of soil organic matter (SOM) of adopting no-tillage (NT) and conventional tillage (CT) for sugarcane replanting. A greater C content and stock was observed in the NT area, but only in the 0-5 cm soil layer (p < 0.05). Greater soil C stock (0-60 cm) was found in soil under NT, when compared to CT and the baseline. While C stock of 116 Mg ha-1 was found in the baseline area, in areas under CT and NT systems the values ranged from 120 to 127 Mg ha-1. Carbon retention rates of 0.67 and 1.63 Mg C ha-1 year-1 were obtained in areas under CT and NT, respectively. Laser-Induced Fluorescence Spectroscopy showed that CT makes the soil surface (0-20 cm) more homogeneous than the NT system due to the effect of soil disturbance, and that the SOM humification index (H LIF) is larger in CT compared to NT conditions. In contrast, NT had a gradient of increasing H LIF, showing that the entry of labile organic material such as straw is also responsible for the accumulation of C in this system. The maintenance of straw on the soil surface and the adoption of NT during sugarcane planting are strategies that can increase soil C sequestration in the Brazilian sugarcane sector. <![CDATA[<b>Soil and crop residue CO<sub>2</sub>-C emission under tillage systems in sugarcane-producing areas of southern Brazil</b>]]> Appropriate management of agricultural crop residues could result in increases on soil organic carbon (SOC) and help to mitigate gas effect. To distinguish the contributions of SOC and sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) residues to the short-term CO2-C loss, we studied the influence of several tillage systems: heavy offset disk harrow (HO), chisel plow (CP), rotary tiller (RT), and sugarcane mill tiller (SM) in 2008, and CP, RT, SM, moldboard (MP), and subsoiler (SUB) in 2009, with and without sugarcane residues relative to no-till (NT) in the sugarcane producing region of Brazil. Soil CO2-C emissions were measured daily for two weeks after tillage using portable soil respiration systems. Daily CO2-C emissions declined after tillage regardless of tillage system. In 2008, total CO2-C from SOC and/or residue decomposition was greater for RT and lowest for CP. In 2009, emission was greatest for MP and CP with residues, and smallest for NT. SOC and residue contributed 47 % and 41 %, respectively, to total CO2-C emissions. Regarding the estimated emissions from sugarcane residue and SOC decomposition within the measurement period, CO2-C factor was similar to sugarcane residue and soil organic carbon decomposition, depending on the tillage system applied. Our approach may define new emission factors that are associated to tillage operations on bare or sugarcane-residue-covered soils to estimate the total carbon loss. <![CDATA[<b>Input of sugarcane post-harvest residues into the soil</b>]]> Sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) crops provide carbon (C) for soil through straw and root system decomposition. Recently, however, sugarcane producers are considering straw to be removed for electricity or second generation ethanol production. To elucidate the role of straw and root system on the carbon supply into the soil, the biomass inputs from sugarcane straw (tops and dry leaves) and from root system (rhizomes and roots) were quantified, and its contribution to provide C to the soil was estimated. Three trials were carried out in the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, from 2006 to 2009. All sites were cultivated with the variety SP81 3250 under the green sugarcane harvest. Yearly, post-harvest sugarcane residues (tops, dry leaves, roots and rhizomes) were sampled; weighted and dried for the dry mass (DM) production to be estimated. On average, DM root system production was 4.6 Mg ha-1 year-1 (1.5 Mg C ha-1 year-1) and 11.5 Mg ha-1 year-1 (5.1 Mg C ha-1 year-1) of straw. In plant cane, 35 % of the total sugarcane DM was allocated into the root system, declining to 20 % in the third ratoon. The estimate of potential allocation of sugarcane residues to soil organic C was 1.1 t ha-1 year-1; out of which 33 % was from root system and 67 % from straw. The participation of root system should be higher if soil layer is evaluated, a deeper soil layer, if root exudates are accounted and if the period of higher production of roots is considered. <![CDATA[<b>Impact of sugarcane trash on fertilizer requirements for São Paulo, Brazil</b>]]> The area under mechanized sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) harvesting is expanding in Brazil, increasing the return of trash to the soil. The main questions regarding this management are: (i) after adopting unburned mechanical harvesting, how long will it take to observe decreases in fertilizer requirements, (ii) what will be the magnitude of this decrease and, (iii) the impact in the short run of removing trash for energy purposes in the nutrient cycling? This study aimed to build an N prediction model for long term assessment of the contribution of sugarcane crop residues to sugarcane nutrition and to evaluate the cycling of other nutrients derived from crop residues. Keeping crop residues over the soil will increase soil N stock and N recovery by sugarcane, reaching equilibrium after 40 years with recovery of approximately 40 kg ha-1 year-1 of N. Removing trash for energy production will decrease the potential reduction in N fertilizer requirement. Of the total nutrients in the trash, 75 % of the K2O (81 kg ha-1 year-1) and 50 % of the N (31 kg ha-1 year-1) are in the tops, indicating the importance of maintaining tops in the soil to sustain soil fertility. Because the input data employed in the simulations are representative of the conditions in Southeast Brazil, these results might not be definitive for situations not represented in the experiments used in the study, but the model produced is useful to forecast changes that occur in the soil under different trash management. <![CDATA[<b>Technical and economic assessment of trash recovery in the sugarcane bioenergy production system</b>]]> Mechanized sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) harvest without burning has been increasingly adopted in Brazil, increasing trash availability on the field. This study aims at showing the importance of using an integrated framework tool to assess technical and economic impacts of integral harvesting and baling trash recovery strategies and different recovery rates as well as its implications in the sugarcane production, transport and processing stages. Trash recovery using baling system presents higher costs per unit of mass of recovered trash in comparison to system in which trash is harvested and transported with sugarcane stalks (integral harvesting system). However, the integrated agricultural and industrial assessment showed that recovering trash using baling system presents better economic results (higher internal rate of return and lower ethanol production cost) than the integral harvesting system for trash recovery rates higher than 30 %. Varying trash recovery fraction, stalks productivity and mean transport distance for both integral harvesting and baling systems, sensitivity analyses showed that higher trash recovery fractions associated with higher stalks yields and long transport distances favors baling system, mainly due to the reduction of bulk load density for integral harvesting system under those conditions. <![CDATA[<b>Quantifying soil carbon stocks and greenhouse gas fluxes in the sugarcane agrosystem</b>: <b>point of view</b>]]> Strategies to mitigate climate change through the use of biofuels (such as ethanol) are associated not only to the increase in the amount of C stored in soils but also to the reduction of GHG emissions to the atmosphere.This report mainly aimed to propose appropriate methodologies for the determinations of soil organic carbon stocks and greenhouse gas fluxes in agricultural phase of the sugarcane production. Therefore, the text is a piece of contribution that may help to obtain data not only on soil carbon stocks but also on greenhouse gas emissions in order to provide an accurate life cycle assessment for the ethanol. Given that the greenhouse gas value is the primary measure of biofuel product quality, biorefiners that can show a higher offset of their product will have an advantage in the market place. <![CDATA[<b>Sugarcane straw and the populations of pests and nematodes</b>]]> The green cane harvesting represented a significant change in sugarcane ecosystem due to the presence of straw left on the soil and to the absence of fire. These two factors may affect the populations of pests and their natural enemies. Among the pests benefit from the green cane harvesting stand out the spittlebug, Mahanarva fimbriolata, the curculionid Sphenophorus levis and sugarcane borer, Diatraea saccharalis. In areas of green cane harvesting, the population of these species grew faster than in areas of burnt cane. On the other hand, there are virtually no records of attacks by lesser cornstalk borers in areas of green cane harvesting. Populations of plant parasitic nematodes and the beetles Migdolus fryanus, very important pests of sugarcane, were apparently not affected by the green cane harvesting. Despite the absence of more consistent information, it appears that populations of ants and the giant borer Telchin licus can increase in green cane areas, due primarily to the difficulty of pest control. The partial or total removal of straw from the field represents an additional change to the ecosystem that could alter the status of pests and nematodes. It is likely that spittlebug, the curculionid S. levis and sugarcane borer populations decrease if a portion of the straw is removed from the field. However, the pest populations in areas where the straw is collected will not return to their original conditions at the time of burnt cane harvesting because the absence of fire will be maintained.