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Economics Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 321051, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/321051
Research Article

Economic Impact of Harvesting Corn Stover under Time Constraint: The Case of North Dakota

Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58108, USA

Received 3 February 2013; Accepted 7 April 2013

Academic Editor: Tun-Hsiang Edward Yu

Copyright © 2013 Thein A. Maung and Cole R. Gustafson. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This study examines the impact of stochastic harvest field time on profit maximizing potential of corn cob/stover collection in North Dakota. Three harvest options are analyzed using mathematical programming models. Our findings show that under the first corn grain only harvest option, farmers are able to complete harvesting corn grain and achieve maximum net income in a fairly short amount of time with existing combine technology. However, under the second simultaneous corn grain and cob (one-pass) harvest option, farmers generate lower net income compared to the net income of the first option. This is due to the slowdown in combine harvest capacity as a consequence of harvesting corn cobs. Under the third option of separate corn grain and stover (two-pass) harvest option, time allocation is the main challenge and our evidence shows that with limited harvest field time available, farmers find it optimal to allocate most of their time harvesting grain and then proceed to harvest and bale stover if time permits at the end of harvest season. The overall findings suggest is that it would be more economically efficient to allow a firm that is specialized in collecting biomass feedstock to participate in cob/stover harvest business.