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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lincoln, Nebraska » Wheat, Sorghum and Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #298930

Research Project: Improving bioenergy and forage plants and production systems for the central U.S.

Location: Wheat, Sorghum and Forage Research

Title: Registration of 'liberty' switchgrass

item Vogel, Kenneth
item Mitchell, Robert - Rob
item Sarath, Gautam
item Casler, Michael

Submitted to: Journal of Plant Registrations
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/25/2014
Publication Date: 8/25/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Vogel, K.P., Mitchell, R., Sarath, G., Casler, M.D. 2014. Registration of 'liberty' switchgrass. Journal of Plant Registrations. 8:242-247. DOI:10.3198/jpr2013.12.0076crc.

Interpretive Summary: Switchgrass cultivars for the northern half of the US have been limited to upland ecotype switchgrass cultivars because available lowland cultivars have poor winter survival in the region. Lowland switchgrass cultivars have the potential to produce greater biomass yields if they had better winter survival. A new lowland type switchgrass cultivar ‘Liberty’ was released in 2013 by USDA-ARS and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Liberty which was developed by ARS researchers at Lincoln, NE by crossing northern upland and southern lowland plants followed by three generations of breeding for winter survival, high biomass yield, and low stem lignin concentration. Over a three year period in trials in NE, WI, and IL, Liberty had excellent winter survival and in eastern Nebraska and northern Illinois had biomass yields that were 2 tons per acre greater than the best available released upland cultivars. Liberty is the first bioenergy type switchgrass cultivar for the Midwest and the northern Great Plains and will likely also be used in the Northeast states.

Technical Abstract: ‘Liberty’ switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a lowland type cultivar that is adapted to USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4, 5, and 6 in the Great Plains and Midwest, USA east of 100o W. Longitude and potentially other regions where it has not been tested to date. It was developed for use as a perennial biomass energy crop and is the first high yielding biomass type lowland cultivar that is adapted to this region. It can produce greater biomass yields than upland or forage type switchgrass cultivars that have been developed previously for use in the region and has equivalent winter survival. It has significantly greater winter survival in its adaptation region than previously released lowland switchgrass cultivars that frequently have substantial winter damage and stand loss north of 40 degrees N latitude in the Great Plains and Midwest USA.