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ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Agricultural Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #324374

Research Project: Development of Ecologically-Sound Pest, Water and Soil Management Practices for Northern Great Plains Cropping Systems

Location: Agricultural Systems Research

Title: Spacing effects on energy cane growth, physiology, and biomass yield

Author
item CHILUWAL, ANUJ - Fort Valley State University
item SINGH, HARI - Fort Valley State University
item Sainju, Upendra
item KHANAL, BADRI - Fort Valley State University
item WHITEHEAD, WAYNE - Fort Valley State University
item SINGH, BHARAT - Fort Valley State University

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/29/2018
Publication Date: 5/3/2018
Citation: Chiluwal, A., Singh, H.P., Sainju, U.M., Khanal, B., Whitehead, W.F., Singh, B.P. 2018. Spacing effects on energy cane growth, physiology, and biomass yield. Crop Science. 58(3):1371-1384. https://doi.org/10.2135/cropsci2017.08.0513.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.2135/cropsci2017.08.0513

Interpretive Summary: Energycane, a hybrid of commercial sugarcane, wild sugarcanes, and related grassy species, has been emerged as a potential lignocellulosic crop for second generation ethanol production due to high biomass production instead of high sucrose content. It can be grown in warm climates, including southeastern USA. Some of the advantages of growing energycane are that (1) it can be grown in nutrient-poor marginal and eroded lands not suited for growing food crops and (2) it is more cost-effective for producing ethanol compared to annual crops. Little is known about its population density that can reduce seeding cost and produce sustainable biomass. We examined the effect of three intra- (1.2 m, 1.5 m and 1.8 m) and two inter- (0.6 m and 0.9 m) row spacing on aboveground growth characteristics and biomass of energycane from 2013 to 2015 in southeastern USA. Plant height was greater with 1.2 × 0.6 m than 1.8 × 0.9 m spacing from August to September 2013, but the trend reversed from July to September 2014 and 2015. Tiller and leaf numbers were greater with 1.8 × 0.9 m than other spacing from August to November, 2013 to 2015. Leaf area index was greater with 1.2 × 0.6 m than 1.5 × 0.9 m from August to September 2013 and August to November 2015 and greater with 1.5 × 0.6 m than 1.8 × 0.6 m from August to October 2014. Net photosynthesis rate was greater with 1.8 × 0.9 m and 1.5 × 0.9 m than 1.2 × 0.6 m from July to August 2013 and from July to September 2014. Chlorophyll content varied with spacing at various dates. Biomass yield did not vary among spacing and years. Wide spacing increased tiller and leaf numbers and photosynthesis, but reduced leaf area index compared with narrow spacing. Although reduced leaf size, energycane can be planted at wide compared to narrow spacing to reduce the cost of seeding and produce sustainable biomass yield.

Technical Abstract: Energycane (Saccharum sp. L.), specialized sugarcane (Sacharum spontaneum L.) that produces high cellulosic biomass, can be used as a potential feedstock for biofuel. Little is known about its population density that can reduce seeding cost and produce sustainable biomass. We examined the effect of three intra- (1.2 m, 1.5 m and 1.8 m) and two inter- (0.6 m and 0.9 m) row spacing on aboveground growth characteristics and biomass of energycane from 2013 to 2015 in southeastern USA. Plant height was greater with 1.2 × 0.6 m than 1.8 × 0.9 m spacing from August to September 2013, but the trend reversed from July to September 2014 and 2015. Tiller and leaf numbers were greater with 1.8 × 0.9 m than other spacing from August to November, 2013 to 2015. Leaf area index (LAI) was greater with 1.2 × 0.6 m than 1.5 × 0.9 m from August to September 2013 and August to November 2015 and greater with 1.5 × 0.6 m than 1.8 × 0.6 m from August to October 2014. Net photosynthesis rate was greater with 1.8 × 0.9 m and 1.5 × 0.9 m than 1.2 × 0.6 m from July to August 2013 and from July to September 2014. Chlorophyll content varied with spacing at various dates. Wide spacing increased tiller and leaf numbers and photosynthesis, but reduced LAI compared with narrow spacing. Biomass yield did not vary among spacing and years. Although reduced leaf size, energycane can be planted at wide compared to narrow spacing to reduce the cost of seeding and produce sustainable biomass yield.