Evaluating Switchgrass Cultivars for Biomass Potential at Low Soil Fertility George T. Byrd Ferrum College, Ferrum, VA 24088. Purpose. Methods. The use of field crops as an energy source is important because of our need to reduce our dependency on fossil fuel
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Evaluating Switchgrass Cultivars for Biomass Potential at Low Soil FertilityGeorge T. ByrdFerrum College, Ferrum, VA 24088
The use of field crops as an energy source is important because of our need
Field Trial Location & Dates
Ferrum College Agriculture Farm, Ferrum, VA (80°02’ W, 36°55’N; elevation
412 m) 2001 – 2005
Soil Type & History
Hayesville loam (fine, kaolinitic, mesic Typic Kanhapludults)
Pasture - previous botanical composition of tall fescue, orchardgrass, & red clover
pH 5.8 with no fertilizer additions throughout the study
A complete randomized design
4 switchgrass cultivars
120 seedlings of each cultivar transplanted into the prepared soil (2001)
15 rows established, spaced 0.5 m equidistantly apart
Biannual and annual potential yields from 20 randomly selected plants
from each cultivar
Harvested twice during 2002 & 2004 - July & October.
Harvested in 2003 & 2005 in September only
All harvested material removed from the area
Determined annually by counting remaining living plants
Switchgrass – Late September
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) has great potential as a biomass production system to generate biofuel.
Switchgrass is a perennial crop that
photosynthesis than it loses by burning
Switchgrass as a bioenergy crop may become a successful option for producers as an alternative high value crop with reduced environmental costs.
Cumulative Yield (2002-2005)
Pairwise differences in potential yields of switchgrass were compared with Fisher’s protected LSD values (yields followed by different letters are different (p< 0.01)
cultivars of switchgrass grown in infertile soil.