The Value of Straw

With more talk of bio-energy or bio-materials like the proposed MDF plant for central Alberta, growers may ponder whether it’s worth selling the straw to generate extra income from your straw crop acreage. One way to value straw is simply on what the market place is offering. The other is the opportunity cost based on the value of nutrients and organic matter.  Figure 1 illustrates how much straw can be removed to maintain the SOM using reduced tillage (solid line) and moldboard plow. A one percent decrease in SOM equates to about a 1-inch decrease in water holding capacity.Growers will need to balance the short term economics with long term sustainability. Below are two great articles that discuss the value of straw to help growers decide

  • St(Raw) Deal: Grain News by Dr. Ieuan Evans ( forensic plant pathologist based in Edmonton, Alt)

The Value of Crop Residue: Ontario Field Crop News by Greg Stewart.