عنوان مقاله [English]
Cheap and plentiful fossil energy causes human’s life welfare to improve and increase food production, but today, major problems have been created in fossil fuels. These problems include: scarcity of fossil fuels for future generations, increase in energy prices, and the most importantly, greenhouse gas emissions (such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane) from the use of fossil fuels to the atmosphere.
Energy productivity is one of the most important factors for sustainable agriculture. The use of fossil fuels and chemical fertilizers are threatening the environment. The comparing energy consumption by crops is one of the ways to prioritize various agronomic productions in each area.
Materials and method:
To conduct this study, two crops (silage corn and sorghum) were selected. The reason for this choosing was the numerous similarities of these two plants (including similar planting date, farm operation and consumptions). Accordingly interviews with various farmers (15 and 20 farmers was selected to filling in questionnaire for silage corn and sorghum in Gorgan suburb, respectively) required data of machinery and consumables inputs, including seeds, fertilizers, fuel and pesticides were collected.
To estimate the energy consumption of inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides amount of energy per gram of active ingredient was multiplied in related coefficients and their density. Other input and output calculations of energy used in production and field operations for each of the methods was calculated using coefficients obtained from various references. After that it was analyzed in three parts, fuel consumption, and consumed fuel and global warming potential based on the carbon dioxide equivalent.
Results and discussion:
The most input energy in silage corn and silage sorghum was 23.2 and 24.7 percent respectively based on fertilizer consumption. Also, the highest direct input energy in corn silage and forage sorghum was 27.3 and 31.4 respectively, related to fuel. The output energy in silage sorghum was more than silage corn, such that the output energy in forage sorghum was 315.56 GJ/ha more than silage corn. The main reason for this observation was the high yield of forage sorghum fields. The ratio of output to input energy in spring corn and forage sorghum were calculated 4.3 and 15.6 respectively. In other words, energy efficiency was higher in silage sorghum farms and this was due to the higher yield and lower inputs in the crop. The energy efficiency in corn silage was less than silage sorghum, the reason was low yield per unit area (12.500 kg of dry matter per hectare) and more energy input in silage corn farms. In both crop the highest global warming potential (GWP) was related to nitrogen fertilizer and fuel consumption. The highest and the lowest global warming potential respectively observed in silage corn and forage sorghum (with 1845.9 kg CO2/ha and 1729 kg CO2/ha). Consumption of agricultural inputs such as herbicides and pesticides was lower in silage sorghum farms. In both the least amount of greenhouse gas emissions related to fertilizer potassium was 39.5 kg CO2 equivalent.
The energy input and greenhouse gas emissions in spring corn were higher than forage sorghum due to more agricultural operations (such as herbicides and pesticides consumption), in this respect the cultivation of forage sorghum had minimal environmental impacts. In both crops the consumption of fuel and fertilizer constitute the high percentage of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the use of devices that reduce fuel consumption is recommended, also need for research and investigation on crop rotation and nitrogen fixing plants was revealed. Comparison of the global warming potential (GWP) based on the unit weight yield per hectare of silage sorghum and silage corn showed that there are very significant differences between the two crops, so that global warming potential of the spring corn planting was 12.1 times higher than that of silage sorghum.