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Switchgrass Biomass And Chemical Composition For Biofuel In Eastern Canada.
Published 1999 · Biology
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is one of several warm-season grasses that have been identified as potential biomass crops in North America. A two-year field study was conducted, on a free-draining sandy clay loam (St. Bernard, Typic Hapludalf), to characterize the growth and evaluate changes in biomass accumulation and composition of switchgrass at Montreal, QC. Three cultivars, Cave-in-Rock, Pathfinder, and Sunburst, were grown in solid stands in a randomized complete block design. Canopy height, dry matter (DM) accumulation and chemical composition were monitored biweekly throughout the growing season. Average maximum canopy heights were 192.5 cm for Cave-in-Rock, 169.9 for Pathfinder, and 177.8 for Sunburst. The respective end-of-season DM yields were 12.2, 11.5, and 10.6 Mg/ha. Biomass production among cultivars appeared to be related to time of maturation. Nitrogen concentration of DM decreased curvilinearly from 25 g/kg at the beginning of the season to 5 g/kg DM at season's end. Both acid-detergent fiber (ADF) and neutral-detergent fiber (NDF) concentrations increased to a maximum early in the season, after which no changes were detected. The average maximum values of ADF and NDF were, respectively, 647.6 and 849.0 g/kg DM for Cave-in-Rock, 669.1 and 865.2 for Pathfinder, and 661.8 and 860.9 for Sunburst. Changesmore » in canopy height, DM accumulation, and chemical composition could all be described by predictive regression equations. These results indicate that switchgrass has potential as a biomass crop in a short-season environment.« less