Evaluation of winter annuals for biomass production in rotation with traditional summer row crops in the Southeast United States

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Research Paper 01/02/2020
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Evaluation of winter annuals for biomass production in rotation with traditional summer row crops in the Southeast United States

Ping Huang, David I Bransby
Int. J. Agron. Agri. Res.16( 2), 1-8, February 2020.
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Encouraging progress in commercial production of cellulosic biofuels, together with a need to avoid disruption of current food, feed and fiber supplies, could rapidly lead to a shortage of land to produce biomass. However, millions of acres used for production of traditional summer row crops in the Southeast United States are idle during the winter, and could be used to produce biomass from winter annuals. This 3-yr small plot study evaluated three winter annuals (black oat (Avena strigosa Schreb.), rye (Secale cereale L. subsp. cereale) and annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.)) for biomass production, in rotation with three summer row crops (cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), peanuts (Arachis hypogaea L.) and soybeans (Glycine max (L.) Merr.)) that are widely grown in the Southeast United States. All plots were disked and fertilized during the summer. Rye provided higher (p<0.10) biomass yield over the three years (9.0, 5.9 and 4.6Mg/ha in 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 winter seasons, respectively) than black oat and ryegrass. The variation in biomass yields over time was related to low temperature and solar radiation. Yields of the three summer crops were higher following rye, relative to yields following black oat and ryegrass in 2008 and 2010. In 2009, this trend was not observed, possibly because of the very high rainfall during the summer growing season. It is concluded that, compared to black oat and ryegrass, rye was the most suitable winter crop for biomass production in rotation with the three summer crops evaluated in this study.


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