Comparative Nutrient Use Efficiency by Candidate Biofuel Crops

IPNI-2008-USA-IN25

Current U. S. plans for energy security rely on the conversion of large acreages from food crop production to the production of cellulosic biomass in order to produce 86 billion gallons of biofuels, thereby reducing U. S. dependence on imported oil by 25% by 2025. Read more


Year of initiation:2008
Year of completion:2013
Map:

Interpretive Summary

Our understanding of how mineral nutrition affects productivity and composition of bioenergy crops grown on marginal lands remains fragmented and incomplete despite the worldwide interest in using herbaceous biomass as an energy feedstock. Our aim was to determine switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. ) biomass production and maize (Zea mays L. ) grain yield on marginal soils used previously for research to evaluate the effect of soil P and K fertility on alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.

Comparative analyses of candidate second generation biomass species are needed to understand the hydrologic, agronomic, and environmental impacts of species deployment for biomass production. Our objective was to quantify tile drain event volume, nitrate concentrations, and load for upland switchgrass (c. v. Shawnee), Miscanthus x giganteus, and big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) dominant mixed prairie, as well as tilled continuous maize control.

Maximizing biomass yield while minimizing nutrient input represents a new challenge for bioenergy cropping systems. Our objective in this study initiated in 2007 was to determine if nutrient use by perennial and annual bioenergy crops was fundamentally different from well-characterized cropping systems. Using meta-analysis and field experimentation, we studied the relationships between N, P, and K uptake, biomass yield, and composition of sorghum, Miscanthus, and switchgrass.

This report focuses on efforts at the Throckmorton Purdue Agricultural Center, where the objective is to determine how variation in soil test P and K impacts biomass yield, tissue P and K concentrations, and biomass composition (neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, lignin, sugars, starch) of switchgrass.

Current U. S. plans for energy security rely on the conversion of large acreages from food crop production to the production of cellulosic biomass in order to produce 86 billion gallons of biofuels, thereby reducing U. S. dependence on imported oil by 25% by 2025.

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Updates & Reports

2011

Deliverables

2008

Project Description


Project Leader

Jeffrey Volenec, Purdue University


Project Cooperators

Sylvie Brouder
Keith Johnson
Brad Joern


IPNI Staff

T. S. Murrell


Location

Americas \ Northern America \ USA \ Indiana


Topics

4r rate, cropping practices

big bluestem, maize, miscanthus, switchgrass

Nitrogen (N)