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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Booneville, Arkansas » Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #275150

Title: Preliminary assessment of dual use bioenergy-forage potential of exotic and native grasses in Arkansas

item Burner, David
item Belesky, David
item Lingle, Sarah
item UDAWATTA, RANJITH - University Of Missouri
item HOUX, JAMES - University Of Missouri
item KING, RANDY - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)
item Kiniry, James

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Branch Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/25/2011
Publication Date: 2/5/2012
Citation: Burner, D.M., Belesky, D.P., Lingle, S.E., Udawatta, R.P., Houx, J.H., King, R., Kiniry, J.R. 2012. Preliminary assessment of dual use bioenergy-forage potential of exotic and native grasses in Arkansas [abstract]. American Society of Agronomy, February 5-7, 2012, Birmingham, Alabama. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Some bioenergy grasses may have dual use potential as livestock feed or bioenergy feedstock. We conducted two studies on exotic and native grasses thought to have primary use as either livestock forage [‘Bumpers’ eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides) and ‘Alamo’ switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)] or bioenergy [Amur silvergrass (Miscanthus sacchariflorus, clone Msanag), cold tolerant sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrid) clone US84-1028, giant miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus, clone Q4264), and giant reed (Arundo donax)]. The studies were conducted on an upland soil near Booneville, AR in 2007-2010. In Study 1, we compared leaf and stem+sheath quality (in vitro digestibility, total nonstructural carbohydrates, detergent fiber and lignin, cellulose, hemicellulose, and combustible energy) for the exotic grasses giant miscanthus, giant reed, and sugarcane. The invasive giant reed was included to represent plants which might be harvested from riparian areas. In Study 2, we examined the effect of growth stage on stem+sheath sugars (glucose, fructose, and sucrose) and energy for two native (eastern gamagrass and switchgrass) and one exotic grass (Amur silvergrass). Stems of sugarcane had the highest TNC concentration among entries (Study 1), but none of the entries in either study were significant sources of sugar. Entries differed little in energy, but invasive giant reed might be a significant source of combustible energy if it could be economically harvested from riparian areas during an eradication program. Leaves and stems of sugarcane, and leaves of giant reed, appeared to have dual-use potential for energy or animal fodder. Stems of giant miscanthus and giant reed were more suited for energy than animal fodder. Maturity-associated decreases in sugars (Study 2) were consistent with previous reports that nutritive value decreases with stem maturity.