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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Crop Genetics and Breeding Research » Research » Research Project #437840

Research Project: Sustainable Energy Crop Production in the Southeast United States

Location: Crop Genetics and Breeding Research

Project Number: 6048-21500-001-003-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Mar 1, 2019
End Date: Mar 1, 2024

1. Characterize the growth and biomass dynamics of energy crops in multiple edaphic and climatic environments. 1.1. Quantify the biomass growth characteristics and changes in biomass quantity and quality during the growing season and post crop maturity. 1.2. Determine the effect of storage methods and durations on biomass quantity and quality for diverse environment conditions. 2. Quantify the impact of energy crop production on environmental sustainability in agricultural and marginal lands. 2.1. Determine carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions. 2.2. Quantify soil nutrient runoff and leaching loss, water quality, soil erosion and soil quality. 2.3. Quantify the biodiversity of soil microbes, aboveground invertebrates and vertebrates. 3. Develop site-specific best management practices on biomass production, harvesting and storage. 3.1. Conduct economic analysis of biomass production, harvesting and storage. 3.2. Assess life-cycle carbon footprint from biomass production, harvesting and storage. 3.3. Assess the ecosystem services from energy crop production. 3.4. Identify site-specific best production practices from economic and environment analysis. 3.5. Develop site-specific operational plans for year-round biomass supply.

Three genotypes each of biomass sorghum and energycane will be grown at six sites covering five states (two in Texas, and one each in Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida). Some sites will incorporate a nitrogen treatment, but the Georgia site will have only one nitrogen treatment, and therefore will have 24 plots. The first year will be used primarily to increase seed/cane (TX and LA) for planting. Energycane plots will be planted in fall, 2019, and sorghum in spring of each subsequent year. Annual biomass yield will be measured by mechanical harvest, and periodic biomass and soil samples will be collected for structural composition, soil quality, carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, and species diversity, for economic and life cycle analyses, and to produce yield forecasting maps for a wide range of phenotypic traits.