63511 Evaluation of Sorghum Varieties for Biofuel Production and Forage Quality.

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Sunday, February 6, 2011
American Bank Center Bayview, Ballroom A
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Jesse I. Morrison, Rocky Lemus and Brett Rushing, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS

Evaluation of Sorghum Varieties for Biofuel Production and Forage Quality

Rocky Lemus[1], Jesse Morrison*, and Brett Rushing

Traditionally, corn has been the main feedstock utilized for ethanol production in the US. Sorghum is a high yielding, multi-purpose annual crop which makes good quality forage and shows promise as a competitive alternative to corn-based biofuel production. Sorghum is well suited to the southern US; it has the ability to withstand dry conditions, requires little fertilizer, exhibits a rapid growth rate and is easy to establish. The objective of the study was to evaluate the biomass potential and forage quality of four experimental sorghum varieties and their adaptation in the southern US. The experimental design was a randomized complete block, replicated four times. Four sorghum varieties (M231, Omni 1, Omni 2 and SP1990) were obtained from Mendel Bioenergy Seeds (Hayward, CA) and planted on June 8, 2010 at the Mississippi State University South Research Farm. Plot size was 1.8 x 6.1 m and varieties were planted at a rate of 215,643 seed ha-1 in 20.3 cm rows. Plots received 337 kg ha-1 of 15-5-10 at planting with no additional fertilizer applied during the growing season. Varieties were harvested at half bloom on August 31 using a Wintersteiger Cibus-S plot harvester. Subsamples collected for dry matter determination were oven dried at 43 C then ground to pass a 2-mm screen and used for forage quality analysis. Subsamples were also collected, vacuum-sealed, stored for 8 weeks and evaluated to determine silage quality. No significant yield differences were observed among the experimental cultivars. Yields ranged from 20,905 to 23,995 kg ha-1 (average yield 22,145 kg ha-1). Forage quality will be reported at a later date.

1 Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mississippi State University.

* Corresponding author; jim46@msstate.edu