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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Crop Genetics and Breeding Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #254806

Title: Biomass production of perennial grasses with no inputs in South Georgia

item Knoll, Joseph - Joe
item Anderson, William - Bill
item Strickland, Timothy - Tim
item Hubbard, Robert

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2010
Publication Date: 10/1/2010
Citation: Knoll, J.E., Anderson, W.F., Strickland, T.C., Hubbard, R.K. 2010. Biomass production of perennial grasses with no inputs in South Georgia. Sustainable Feedstocks for Advanced Biofuels Workshop, Soil and Water Conservation Society Proceedings, Atlanta, GA, Sept. 28-30, 2010.

Interpretive Summary: not required

Technical Abstract: A number of warm-season perennial grasses have been studied for potential use as biomass feedstocks in the Southeast. Theoretical, 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. A 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 energycane cultivars, two napiergrass genotypes, two switchgrass cultivars, 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 switchgrass. Switchgrass 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.