Thesis - Open Access
Master of Science (MS)
Department / School
Corn Belt, maize, food security, energy, sustainability, agriculture
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
Includes bibliographical references (pages 133-149)
Number of Pages
South Dakota State University
Copyright 2013 Matthew Bernau. All Rights Reserved.
Bernau, Matthew, "Energy in the Corn Belt: Is Maize Production Sustainable?" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1011.