See more from this Session: Management of Bio-Energy and Other Crops
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Long Beach Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Lower Level
There is a worldwide campaign advocating the use of environmentally safe fuels because of the hazards associated with fossil fuel emissions. Hence, there is the need to determine which agricultural feedstock can satisfy this pressing need. Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum [L.] R. Br) has the requisite characteristics of a crop for ethanol production in comparison to traditional crops that are currently being used for ethanol. The primary advantage of pearl millet as a feedstock is that, in the United States peal millet is not a food crop. In this study 4 genotypes of pearl millet were evaluated for superior agronomic traits suitable for feasible economic production of ethanol. The genotypes were treated with 4 different nitrogen rates: 0, 40, 80 and 120 kg ha-1, and evaluated for booting, number of tillers, plant height, number of heads, head size, yield, insect pest and disease infestations. Nitrogen rates 0 and 40 kg ha-1 had an initial spurt in vertical growth of 87.03cm and 80.60cm respectively at 8 weeks after planting (8WAP); however the average plant height at 8WAP for the four nitrogen rates was 78.64 cm, but there was no significant difference among treatments at maturity. The 120 kg ha-1 nitrogen rate had the highest number of plants booting at 8WAP. The tillering capacity was similar across all treatments. The highest seed yield of 3,937 Kg ha-1 resulted from the 0 kg ha-1 nitrogen rate. Among insect pest species found feeding on the plants include corn earworm, leaf-footed bug, May beetle and grasshoppers. Beneficial insects (e.g., bees, predators) were also noted. Seed borne fungi were also isolated from some of the harvested seeds. The study shows that, nitrogen fertilizer can decrease yield in conditions of late planting, drought conditions and higher rates of nitrogen application.