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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Management Strategies to Sustainably Intensify Northern Great Plains Agroecosystems

Location: Natural Resource Management Research

Title: Establishment and yield of perennial grass monocultures and binary mixtures for bioenergy in North Dakota

Author
item Wang, G
item Nyren, P
item Xue, Q
item Aberle, E
item Eriksmoen, E
item Bradbury, G
item Liebig, Mark
item Nichols, Kristine
item Nyren, Anne

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/31/2014
Publication Date: 9/11/2014
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/60289
Citation: Wang, G., Nyren, P., Xue, Q., Aberle, E., Eriksmoen, E., Bradbury, G., Liebig, M.A., Nichols, K.A., Nyren, A. 2014. Establishment and yield of perennial grass monocultures and binary mixtures for bioenergy in North Dakota. Agronomy Journal. 106:1605-1613.

Interpretive Summary: Utilization of perennial herbaceous crops as biofuel sources has been suggested to reduce negative consequences associated with current large-scale biofuel production. Most assessments of perennial herbaceous biofeedstocks in the northern Great Plains have focused on switchgrass, where previous modeling efforts have shown its production for bioenergy to be economically feasible. Information associated with the production of other grasses in the region for potential use as biofeedstocks, such as wheatgrasses, big bluestem, and species mixtures, is lacking. To address this need, a five year study was conducted at four locations in North Dakota to determine establishment success and biomass yield of switchgrass, intermediate wheatgrass, tall wheatgrass, and three two-species mixtures. Canopy cover at harvest for intermediate wheatgrass, tall wheatgrass, a mixture of tall wheatgrass and intermediate wheatgrass, and a mixture of tall wheatgrass with ‘Sunburst’ switchgrass was greater than 85% at all four sites one year after seeding. Yields of mixtures were at least comparable to and sometimes higher than those of their compositional component monocultures. Accordingly, mixtures with carefully selected species could have potential for bioenergy production systems in North Dakota.

Technical Abstract: To develop appropriate bioenergy production systems to match site-specific situations, establishment and yield were evaluated for switchgrass, intermediate wheatgrass, tall wheatgrass, and three binary mixtures at four sites in North Dakota from 2006 to 2011. Canopy cover at harvest for intermediate wheatgrass, tall wheatgrass, a binary mixture of tall wheatgrass and intermediate wheatgrass, and a binary mixture of tall wheatgrass with ‘Sunburst’ switchgrass was greater than 85% at all four sites one year after seeding. Canopy cover at harvest for ‘Sunburst’ switchgrass and its binary mixture with big bluestem was 100% at Carrington, the most eastern site, but less than 35% at Williston, the most western site. Meanwhile, canopy cover at harvest for 'Sunburst' switchgrass and its binary mixture with big bluestem was greater than 70% two and three years after seeding at Minot and Streeter, the north central and south central sites, respectively. ‘Sunburst’ switchgrass produced the most biomass at Carrington (10.6 Mg/ha), while intermediate wheatgrass was the most productive biofeedstock at Williston (3.0 Mg/ha). The binary mixture of tall wheatgrass with ‘Sunburst’ switchgrass had the highest yield at Minot (8.5 Mg/ha) and Streeter (6.7 Mg/ha). Yields of binary mixtures were at least comparable to and sometimes higher than those of their compositional component monocultures. Binary mixtures with carefully selected species could have potential for bioenergy production systems in North Dakota.

Last Modified: 09/19/2017
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