Monday, November 13, 2006

Biomass Partitioning and Quality of Miscanthus, Panicum, and Saccharum Genotypes in Arkansas, USA.

David Burner and Thomas Tew. USDA-ARS, 6883 S. State Hwy. 23, Booneville, AR 72927-9214, United States of America

A field test was conducted for 2 yr (plant cane and first stubble crops) with five putative cold tolerant entries: Miscanthus x giganteus, ‘Gracillimus' M. sinensis, ‘Alamo' Panicum virgatum (switchgrass), and two Saccharum F1 hybrids (US84-1028 and US84-1058, sugarcane x Miscanthus sp.).  Miscanthus sinensis failed to over-winter and was dropped from the test the second yr.  Number of stems m-2, dry mass m-2, dry mass stem-1, and leaf dry mass stem-1 differed among entries each yr.  Switchgrass produced 63 and 125 stems m-2 in 2004 and 2005 respectively, while there were few differences among the other entries (range 8 to 26 stems m-2).  Entry US84-1028 yielded 1460 g dry mass m-2 in 2004, which was more than the other entries (range 160 to 520 g m-2), and did not differ in yield from switchgrass in 2005 (1220 and 840 g m-2 for switchgrass and US84-1028, respectively).  Data will be presented on stem and leaf quality constituents (digestibility, N, total nonstructural carbohydrate, and lignin) that influence energy conversion decisions.  Plant breeders are generally aware of the tremendously high yield potential of some sugarcane hybrids and the relative easy with which M. sinensis crosses with sugarcane.  The data suggest that such crosses may be a good source of genes for cold tolerance, which could allow the cultivation of sugarcane for energy in areas substantially north of current cane-growing regions.  Dry matter yield of energy canes could compare favorably with switchgrass.

Handout (.pdf format, 101.0 kb)