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Harvest Index: A Predictor Of Corn Stover Yield

Corn stover is made up of the stalk, leaves, husks and tassels left in the field after harvesting the grain with a combine. Stover can be harvested and used as a livestock feed, converted into ethanol or burned for heat or electricity. The amount of stover produced each crop year depends on weather, soils and management practices like fertilizer and pest control applications. As a general rule, the amount of stover produced is about the same as the amount of grain produced. This is commonly expressed in a ratio called harvest index.
Harvest index is defined as the pounds of grain divided by the total pounds of above ground biomass (stover plus grain).
Harvest index = lbs of grain / (lbs stover + lbs grain)

For example, 175 bushel (175 bu x 56 lbs/bu = 9,800 lbs) corn yield and a 4.5 ton (4.5 ton x 2,000 lbs/ton = 9,000 lbs) stover yield would result in a harvest index of:
Harvest index = 9,800 lbs of grain / (9,000 lbs stover + 9,800 lbs grains) = 0.52

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