Submitted to: Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 10, 2010
Publication Date: April 22, 2010
Citation: Knoll, J.E., Anderson, W.F., Strickland, T.C., Hubbard, R.K. 2010. Field performance of potential biomass feedstocks under no inputs in South Georgia. Proceedings of 32nd Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals, Clearwater, FL, April 19-22, 2010. Interpretive Summary: not required
Technical Abstract: Warm-season perennial grasses have the greatest potential for biomass production in the Southeast for the emerging bioenergy industry. The larger root systems of perennial crops should be able to adapt to lower inputs of water and fertilizer, and should also contribute to soil carbon sequestration. This study was initiated in fall 2005 at Tifton, GA, to compare the performance of perennial grasses under rainfed conditions with no fertilizer inputs. The test consisted of four replications in a randomized complete block design, and included two energycanes, two Napiergrasses, two switchgrasses, three giant reeds, and Erianthus arundinaceum. Total shoot biomass was harvested and weighed each year (2006 – 2009) in winter, and was analyzed for fiber quality by NIR spectroscopy, and for N content by combustion. Soil samples were collected periodically to assess possible changes in soil carbon and nitrogen. Averaged over the first three years, DM yields of energycanes, Napiergrasses, and Erianthus were significantly higher than switchgrasses and giant reeds. Switchgrasses and giant reeds were not significantly different in DM yield, but switchgrasses had higher nitrogen use efficiency, based on the nitrogen content of the harvested plants. In the fourth year, yields of all entries decreased substantially. Biomass quality parameters varied between entries and also between years. From 2007 to 2009, soil carbon in the surface layer tended to decrease slightly, while nitrogen increased slightly.