Comparison of miscanthus and switchgrass cultivars for biomass yield, soil nutrients, and nutrient removal in northwest Spain

José Alberto Oliveira, C. P. West, Elias Afif, Pedro Palencia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Comparative performance tests of perennial grasses for biomass yield, quality, and soil nutrient removal are needed to guide decisions toward meeting European Union targets for renewable energy production. We compared hybrid miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus Greef and Deuterex Hodkinson and Renvoize) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) cultivars Cave-in-Rock, (upland type), Alamo, and Kanlow (lowland types) for biomass yield and changes in soil macronutrient levels and removal rates in a humid Spanish environment. Soil and plant nutrient and C levels were measured after each annual biomass harvest for 4 yr. Plant nutrient concentrations were multiplied by biomass yield to express nutrient removal. Yield ranking (4-yr mean) was miscanthus (17.6 Mg ha–1) > Kanlow (13.3 Mg ha–1) = Alamo (13.0 Mg ha–1) > Cave-in-Rock (7.7 Mg ha–1). Miscanthus biomass yield peaked in the third year at 27.0 Mg ha–1. Th e high yield of miscanthus together with its relatively low macronutrient concentrations and intermediate removal rates, indicate its advantages over switchgrass as a biomass crop choice. Alamo and Kanlow usually removed more macronutrients than Cavein- Rock, suggesting a greater long-term fertilizer requirement for the lowland types. Soil C stocks increased by a mean of 2850 kg ha–1 over 4 yr at 0- to 20-cm depth. Phosphorus was the macronutrient most likely to become defi cient aft er repeated harvests. Miscanthus and lowland switchgrass cultivars performed well in the Atlantic maritime region of Spain, therefore the choice of crop would rely on economics of establishment and long-term stand maintenance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-130
Number of pages9
JournalAgronomy Journal
Volume109
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

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