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Adaptation Of C 4 Bioenergy Crop Species To Various Environments Within The Southern Great Plains Of USA

S. Kim, J. Kiniry, A. Williams, Norman Meki, L. Gaston, M. Brakie, A. Shadow, Felix B. Fritschi, Y. Wu
Published 2017 · Environmental Science

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As highly productive perennial grasses are evaluated as bioenergy feedstocks, a major consideration is biomass yield stability. Two experiments were conducted to examine some aspects of yield stability for two biofuel species: switchgrass ( Panicum vigratum L.) and Miscanthus x giganteus ( Mxg ). Biomass yields of these species were evaluated under various environmental conditions across the Southern Great Plains (SGP), including some sites with low soil fertility. In the first experiment, measured yields of four switchgrass ecotypes and Mxg varied among locations. Overall, plants showed optimal growth performance in study sites close to their geographical origins. Lowland switchgrass ecotypes and Mxg yields simulated by the ALMANAC model showed reasonable agreement with the measured yields across all study locations, while the simulated yields of upland switchgrass ecotypes were overestimated in northern locations. In the second experiment, examination of different N fertilizer rates revealed switchgrass yield increases over the range of 0, 80, or 160 kg N ha −1 year −1 , while Mxg only showed yield increases between the low and medium N rates. This provides useful insights to crop management of two biofuel species and to enhance the predictive accuracy of process-based models, which are critical for developing bioenergy market systems in the SGP.
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