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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: REDESIGNING FORAGE GERMPLASM AND PRODUCTION SYSTEMS FOR EFFICIENCY, PROFIT, AND SUSTAINABILITY OF DAIRY FARMS Title: Biomass yield and quality of reed canarygrass under five harvest management systems for bioenergy production

Authors
item Tahir, M Hammad Nadeem -
item Casler, Michael
item Moore, Kenneth -
item Brummer, E. Charles -

Submitted to: BioEnergy Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 25, 2010
Publication Date: September 16, 2010
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/56735
Citation: Tahir, M., Casler, M.D., Moore, K.J., Brummer, E. 2010. Biomass yield and quality of reed canarygrass under five harvest management systems for bioenergy production. BioEnergy Research. 4:111-119.

Interpretive Summary: Reed canarygrass is a cool-season perennial grass with potential as a biomass energy crop. It can be grown in a wide range of soils and environments and has been used as a pasture and hay crop for many decades. The number and timing of harvests during a growing season directly affect biomass yield and biofuel quality. Our experiment was designed to evaluate five different harvest management systems to maximize biomass yield and quality. Biomass yield was highest for a 2-cut harvest management with first cut made on or near the summer solstice and the last cut made after a killing frost. Biomass that was allowed to stand over winter had much superior quality, especially for combustion applications, but biomass yield was reduced by up to 60% on average and was sometimes impossible to harvest due to snow packing. This experiment provides valuable information on average reed canarygrass biomass yields and quality for several harvest management systems evaluated at three locations in Iowa and Wisconsin. It should be of value to biomass producers and other scientists.

Technical Abstract: Reed canarygrass, Phalaris arundinacea L., produces high biomass yields in cool climates and wetlands. The number and timing of harvests during a growing season directly affect biomass yield and biofuel quality. In order to determine optimum harvest management, seven cultivars of reed canarygrass were planted in field experiments at Ames, IA; McNay, IA; and Arlington, WI in the upper Midwestern USA and harvested once in autumn or in winter, twice in spring + autumn or spring + winter, or three times during the season as hay. Biomass yield varied considerably among harvest treatments, locations, and years, ranging up to 12.6 Mg ha-1. The three harvest hay and two harvest spring + autumn managements produced the highest biomass yield compared to other systems, but the advantage, if any, of hay management was small and probably does not justify the cost of additional fieldwork. More mature biomass, such as that found in the single harvest systems, had higher fiber concentrations. Overwintered biomass had superior biofuel quality, being low in P, K, S, and Cl and high in cell wall concentration. However, winter harvest systems had lower yield than autumn harvest and in some years, no harvest was possible due to snow compaction. The main limitation of a two harvest system are the high moisture content of the late spring/early summer harvest.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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