Removing agricultural residues as feedstock for the growing bioeconomy – efficiency of intermediate crops to minimize negative environmental consequences

Last changed: 08 March 2024

The overall aim of this project is to generate a knowledge base on how a large-scale removal of agricultural crop residues can contribute to fulfil the expected biomass demand for food products, biobased chemicals and fuels without negative impacts on crop production in general. This project (a) assesses the impact of large-scale removal of crop residues; (b) the capability of intermediate crop (IC ) production to avoid negative environmental

impacts of residue removal and (c) the potential of crop residues and IC biomass to contribute with biomass to the


This combination of crop residues removal and cultivation and harvest of intermediate crops (catch crops, cover crops) is suggested as a measure for sustainable intensification; (1) to reduce e.g. nutrient leakage, risk for erosion, crop rotation-relevant diseases, and (2) to increase ecosystems services such as soil organic carbon build-up and weed competition and provision of biomass.

Assessed using life cycle methodology, specific aims include (i) the quantification of environmental emissions and soil organic carbon changes due to residue removal, IC production (cultivation and harvest) as well as use of the removed biomass for production of food, feed, chemicals and vehicle fuels; (ii) the assessment of environmental, socio-economic and techno-economic impacts of these measures; and (iii) the design and assessment of strategies for employing these measures for sustainable intensification.


Barrios Latorre, S. A., H. Aronsson, L. Björnsson, M. Viketoft and T. Prade (2024). Exploring the benefits of intermediate crops: Is it possible to offset soil organic carbon losses caused by crop residue removal? Agricultural Systems 215: 103873.


The project is funded by: Formas

Duration of the project: 2022-2024

Project Leader: Thomas Prade, Department of Biosystems and Technology, SLU

Other contributors: Lovisa Björnsson, Lunds University, Helena Aronsson, SLU, Maria Viketoft, SLU