Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENHANCED MODELS AND CONSERVATION PRACTICES FOR WATERSHED RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND ASSESSMENT

Location: Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory

Title: Perennial biomass grasses and the Mason-Dixon Line: Comparative productivity across latitudes in the southern Great Plains

Authors
item Kiniry, James
item Anderson, Leah -
item Johnson, Mari-Vaughn -
item Behrman, Kathrine
item Brakie, Melinda -
item Burner, David
item Cordsiemon, Ron -
item Fay, Philip
item Fritschi, Felix -
item Houx Iii, James -
item Hawkes, Christine -
item Juenger, Tom -
item Kaiser, Jerry -
item Keitt, Timothy -
item Lloyd-Reilley, John -
item Maher, Shelly -
item Raper, Randy -
item Scott, Andy -
item Shadow, Alan -
item West, Charles -
item Wu, Yanqi -
item Zibilske, Larry

Submitted to: BioEnergy Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 4, 2012
Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Citation: Kiniry, J.R., Anderson, L.C., Johnson, M.V., Behrman, K.D., Brakie, M., Burner, D.M., Cordsiemon, R.L., Fay, P.A., Fritschi, F.B., Houx III, J.H., Hawkes, C., Juenger, T., Kaiser, J., Keitt, T., Lloyd-Reilley, J., Maher, S., Raper, R., Scott, A., Shadow, A., West, C., Wu, Y., Zibilske, L.M. 2013. Perennial biomass grasses and the Mason-Dixon Line: Comparative productivity across latitudes in the southern Great Plains. BioEnergy Research. 6:276-291.

Interpretive Summary: Understanding latitudinal adaptation of switchgrass and giant miscanthus in the southern Great Plains is key to maximizing productivity by matching each grass variety to its ideal production environment. Objectives of this study were: i) to quantify latitudinal variation in production of representative upland switchgrass ecotypes (Blackwell, Cave-In-Rock; CIR, Shawnee), lowland switchgrass ecotypes (Alamo, Kanlow), and miscanthus in the southern half of the U.S. Great Plains, and ii) to investigate the environmental factors affecting yield variation. Leaf area and yield were measured on plots at ten locations in MO, AR, OK, and TX. More cold winter days led to decreased subsequent Alamo switchgrass yields and increased subsequent upland switchgrass yields. More hot growing season days led to decreased Kanlow and miscanthus yields. Increased drought intensity also contributed to decreased miscanthus yields. Alamo switchgrass had the greatest radiation use efficiency (RUE) and water use efficiency (WUE). Best RUE values for other varieties ranged from 67 to 80% of Alamo’s RUE value and 67% to 87% of Alamo’s WUE. These results provide inputs to process based models to realistically simulate these important perennial grasses and to assess the environmental impacts of production on water use and nutrient demands. In addition, it will be useful for landowners and companies choosing the best grasses for biofuel production.

Technical Abstract: Understanding latitudinal adaptation of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus J. M. Greef & Deuter ex Hodk. & Renvoize) to the southern Great Plains is key to maximizing productivity by matching each grass variety to its ideal production environment. Objectives of this study were: i) to quantify latitudinal variation in production of representative upland switchgrass ecotypes (Blackwell, Cave-In-Rock; CIR, Shawnee), lowland switchgrass ecotypes (Alamo, Kanlow), and miscanthus in the southern half of the U.S. Great Plains, and ii) to investigate the environmental factors affecting yield variation. Leaf area and yield were measured on plots at ten locations in MO, AR, OK, and TX. More cold winter days led to decreased subsequent Alamo switchgrass yields and increased subsequent upland switchgrass yields. More hot growing season days led to decreased Kanlow and miscanthus yields. Increased drought intensity also contributed to decreased miscanthus yields. Alamo switchgrass had the greatest radiation use efficiency (RUE) with a mean of 4.3 g per MJ intercepted PAR and water use efficiency (WUE) with a mean of 4.5 mg of dry weight per g of water transpired. The best RUE values for other varieties ranged from 67 to 80% of Alamo’s RUE value and 67% to 87% of Alamo’s WUE. These results will provide valuable inputs to process based models to realistically simulate these important perennial grasses in this region and to assess the environmental impacts of production on water use and nutrient demands. In addition, it will also be useful for landowners and companies choosing the best perennial grasses for biofuel production.

Last Modified: 9/20/2014