See more from this Session: Bioenergy Production, Modeling, Sustainability, and Policy
Monday, November 1, 2010
Long Beach Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Lower Level
The Biomass Regional Feedstock Partnership has identified grasslands planted under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) as one of four potential herbaceous sources for use as a dedicated bioenergy feedstock. The purpose of this program is to assess the yield potential and suitability of CRP grassland as a bioenergy feedstock source across logical regions of adaptation. Consistent with that purpose, the objective of this project was to establish yield potential and quality parameters for several different CRP grasslands, representative of different growing environments. Standard agricultural practices for the regions of interest were used as management guidelines at each location. The test locations were identified and established based on prior knowledge of CRP grassland and where it is typically situated, given climatic parameters and production histories. Biomass production potential for CRP land dominated by either warm- or cool-season grass mixtures in each location was evaluated over the course of two growing seasons (2008 and 2009). Specifically, a mixture of warm-season perennial grasses was evaluated in North Dakota, Kansas and Oklahoma, while a cool-season mixture was evaluated in Montana, Georgia, and Missouri. The mixtures, while not consistent across locations, represented the expected feedstock crop to be planted in each region. Along with general productivity, the effect of fertilizer and harvest timing was evaluated at each of these sites. On average, across the locations, approximately 1.86 to 4.07 Mg ha-1 was produced. Fertilizer response showed a positive correlation between yield and fertilizer level, with the greatest fertilization rates resulting in the highest yields. Additionally, yields were greatest when biomass was harvest after killing frost instead of at the peak standing of the crop. This research illustrates that CRP land has a potential for biomass production, which can be maximized using sustainable management practices.