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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Establishment of switchgrass cultivars in prime vs. marginal land in seven states
Year: 2010
Author(s): Sosa, S., Ernst, C., Adler, P., Casler, M., Boe, A., Armstrong, J., Mayton, H., Bonos, S.
Source Title:
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 92
Original Publication:  
Abstract: The national strategy is to produce bioenergy crops on marginal cropland where there will be no competition with food production. The stress tolerance characteristics of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) make it an excellent candidate for sustainable biomass production on marginal land. However, few studies have evaluated switchgrass performance on marginal land. The objectives of the project are to identify the best performing switchgrass cultivars on marginal land in specific locations and identify cultivars with broad adaptation across several regions. Fourteen switchgrass cultivars representing a range in adaptation, from southern lowland to northern upland ecotypes, were established in ‘paired’ field trials (on marginal soil and on prime farmland soil) in NJ, NY, WI, SD, PA, OH, and MD. Two nitrogen treatments (0, 120 kg ha-1) were applied in the spring of each year. Biomass and agronomic data were collected in 2009 and 2010 to determine the effects of marginal soil on switchgrass performance. Marginal and prime farmland sites were established successfully at all locations except WI. Prime sites had higher percent establishment (80-97%) compared to marginal sites (37-85%) at most, but not all locations. Upland cultivars established best (64-86%) across all locations, followed by northern lowland, while southern lowland cultivars exhibited the poorest establishment (36-46%) across all locations. This information will be useful in identifying switchgrass cultivars with improved biomass production on marginal land.
Publisher: Proceedings of the Seventh Eastern Native Grass Symposium. Knoxville, TN, October 5-8, 2010
Editor(s): C. Harper