Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date

2013

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Darrell Napton

Keywords

Corn Belt, maize, food security, energy, sustainability, agriculture

Abstract

Technological and scientific innovation has transformed agricultural production. Corn production methods changed from a sustainable, nutrient recycling production system to one reliant on imported fossil energy inputs. Located in the Western Corn Belt, Union County, South Dakota was chosen as the study area. Changes in production methods are represented by four technological epochs: 1) The Draft Horse Epoch, 1890-1920; 2) The Tractor Epoch, 1920-1950; 3) The Fertilizer Epoch, 1950-1980; and 4) The Biotechnology and Precision Agriculture Epoch, 1980-2010. The energy budget method was used to measure the energy sustainability of corn production. The findings show that the volume of corn grain yield credited to fossil fuels and inorganic fertilizer energy inputs represents the magnitude of the corn crop that is neither sustainable nor renewable.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Corn -- Yields -- South Dakota -- Union County -- History

Energy crops

Renewable crops

Sustainable agriculture

Description

Includes bibliographical references (pages 133-149)

Format

application/pdf

Number of Pages

161

Publisher

South Dakota State University

Rights

Copyright 2013 Matthew Bernau. All Rights Reserved.

Share

COinS