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ARS Home » Plains Area » Woodward, Oklahoma » Rangeland and Pasture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #351626

Research Project: Sustaining Southern Plains Landscapes through Plant Genetics and Sound Forage-Livestock Production Systems

Location: Rangeland and Pasture Research

Title: Variation of agronomic traits of ravenna grass and its potential as a biomass crop

Author
item Springer, Timothy

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/9/2018
Publication Date: 5/12/2018
Citation: Springer, T.L. 2018. Variation of agronomic traits of ravenna grass and its potential as a biomass crop. Agronomy Journal. 8(5):70. http://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8050070.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8050070

Interpretive Summary: A scientist at the Southern Plains Range Research Station, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Woodward, Oklahoma evaluated the variation of agronomic traits of Ravenna grass (Tripidium ravennae) for its use as a biomass energy crop. Ravenna grass biomass yield is moderately high, equaling or exceeding that of switchgrass. In 2014 to 2017, the yield ranged from 3.9 ± 0.8 kg per plant to 7.5 ± 1.8 kg per plant. Its cost of production should be similar or lower than other energy crops because of little or no nitrogen fertilization use. Ravenna grass has the potential to be developed into a viable energy crop, however, research is needed to determine optimum seeding rates and plant densities to sustain long-term biomass production.

Technical Abstract: Ravenna grass (Tripidium ravennae) is a tall robust bunchgrass with potential as an energy crop. The aim was to investigate the variation of agronomic traits of Ravenna grass. Univariate analyses of traits were conducted on 95 plants from 2013 to 2017. The traits were: biomass yield per plant, C, N, and ash concentrations, leaf sap and culm sap sucrose concentrations, percentage seed set, and the number of caryopses per panicle. In 2013, the biomass yield averaged 210 ± 90 grams per plant (mean ± the standard deviation). In 2014 to 2017, the yield averaged from 3.9 ± 0.8 kg per plant to 7.5 ± 1.8 kg per plant. Carbon concentration was generally high than other energy crops, while N and ash concentrations were generally lower. Leaf sap sucrose ranged from 24.4 ± 4.6 g kg-1 in 2016 to 41.6 ± 7.6 g kg-1 in 2013. Culm sap sucrose varied from approximately 1.6 to 2.1 times that of leaf sap depending upon the harvest year. The percentage seed set varied between years ranging from 37.2 ± 12.4% to 56.6 ± 9.8%, and the mean number of caryopses per panicle vared from 4766 ± 2009 to 11470 ± 3077.