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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Dairy Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #348283

Research Project: Redesigning Forage Genetics, Management, and Harvesting for Efficiency, Profit, and Sustainability in Dairy and Bioenergy Production Systems

Location: Dairy Forage Research

Title: Nitrogen fertilization management of switchgrass, miscanthus and giant reed: a review

Author
item MONTI, ANDREA - University Of Bologna
item ZEGADA-LIZARAZU, WALTER - University Of Bologna
item ZANETTI, FEDERICA - University Of Bologna
item Casler, Michael

Submitted to: BioEnergy Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2018
Publication Date: 11/9/2019
Citation: Monti, A., Zegada-Lizarazu, W., Zanetti, F., Casler, M.D. 2019. Nitrogen fertilization management of switchgrass, miscanthus and giant reed: a review. BioEnergy Research. 153:87-119.

Interpretive Summary: To successfully develop production systems for switchgrass, miscanthus, and giant reed, accurate information on effective nitrogen fertilization management on different soil types, climate and growth conditions, and for specific end uses is essential. Nitrogen is the main element, along with water, that determines biomass productivity, but at the same time, it is also the most environmentally and economically impacting agronomic factor. Moreover, the majority of studies refer to environmental conditions that are insufficiently defined, or to peculiar local conditions that can lead to controversial results. The literature clearly shows that: (i) a great deal of uncertainty surrounds this subject, (ii) clear justifications of the N fertilization dose used in the context of agronomic trials are often missing, and (iii) researchers generally rely on common sense and personal experience, rather than sound science. Therefore, the purpose of the present review is to help identify common denominators and guidelines to define the optimal N supply for switchgrass, miscanthus, and giant reed as a function of environmental and growing conditions. This review addresses N supply for agronomic and ecological studies focused on biomass production and on breeding nurseries and trials focused on optimal cultivar development strategies, aiming to clarify these issues for agronomists, ecologists, and breeders.

Technical Abstract: To successfully develop production systems for switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), miscanthus (Miscanthus spp.), and giant reed (Arundo donax L.), it is essential to have accurate information on effective nitrogen fertilization management on different soil types, climate and growth conditions, and for specific end uses. Nitrogen is, in fact, the main element along with water that determines biomass productivity, but at the same time, it is also the most environmentally and economically impacting agronomic factor. Variation in rhizomes, soil biota, mycorrhizae, N deposition, absorption and mobilization, and different N sources render the uniform estimation of N need very byzantine. Moreover, the majority of studies refer to environmental conditions that are insufficiently defined or apply to peculiar local conditions that can lead to controversial results. The literature clearly shows that: (i) a great deal of uncertainty surrounds this subject, (ii) clear justifications of the N fertilization dose used in the context of agronomic trials are often missing, and (iii) researchers generally rely on common sense and personal experience, rather than sound science. Therefore, the purpose of this present review is to help identify common denominators and guidelines to define the optimal N supply for switchgrass, miscanthus and giant reed as a function of environmental and growing conditions. This review addresses N supply for agronomic and ecological studies focused on biomass production and on breeding nurseries and trials focused on optimal cultivar development strategies.