Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: July 31, 2010
Publication Date: September 7, 2011
Citation: Bauer, P.J., Cantrell, K.B., Ro, K.S. 2011. Potential of sunn hemp for southeast USA cropping systems. In: Webber, C.L., Liu, A., editors. Plant Fibers as Renewable Feedstocks for Biofuel and Bio-based Products. St. Paul, MN:CCG International. p. 110-116. Technical Abstract: Sunn hemp (Crotolaria juncea) is a fast growing tropical legume that can accumulate large amounts of biomass and nitrogen in a relatively short period of time during the summer in the southeast United States. Field research trials were conducted between 2004 and 2007 at Florence, South Carolina to evaluate its potential as a summer cover crop grown in the late summer. Biomass production of the sunn hemp was highly dependent on growing conditions and soil type, but biomass yields of 10.7 Mg/ha were achieved when planted in late July and harvested in early November. In a 2009 trial with sunn hemp planted in late May, biomass yield in late October averaged 17.7 Mg/ha. Sunn hemp as a cover crop has the potential for providing substantial biomass and nitrogen for cropping systems on the low organic matter soils of the southeast United States. The fast growth and lack of dependence on nitrogen fertilizer led to subsequent research on its potential as a bioenergy crop. Energy content of sunn hemp is comparable to other biofeedstocks currently being evaluated.