Agronomic Considerations for Sweet Sorghum Biofuel Production in the South-Central USA

Han, K.J. and Pitman, W.D. and Alison, M.W. (2012) Agronomic Considerations for Sweet Sorghum Biofuel Production in the South-Central USA. BioEnergy Research. pp. 1-11.

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Sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is currently recognized throughout the world as a highly promising biomass energy crop. Production systems and management practices for sweet sorghum have not been fully developed for the USA, although sporadic research efforts during recent decades have provided some insights into production of sweet sorghum primarily for fermentable sugar production. Field plot experiments were conducted at sites across Louisiana to assess biomass and sugar yield responses to N fertilizer, plant density, and selected cultivars. Although linear increases in stem biomass production and fermentable sugar yield were obtained with increasing N fertilizer rate under irrigated conditions, most of the increase was from the initial 45 kg N ha−1 increment. Nitrogen fertilization increased stem biomass production but not fermentable sugar yield in some non-irrigated environments. Increased plant density contributed to fermentable sugar yield only under growth-limiting conditions, particularly under limited soil moisture. Location effects indicate that sweet sorghum may not be suitable for some sub-optimal cropland and pasture environments in Louisiana. During the primary growing season, cultivar did not affect fermentable sugar yields, although Dale was consistently high in sugar concentration during this period. Nitrogen fertilizer increased fermentable sugar yields only when moisture was not limiting. Overall results indicate that in environments where soil moisture limits plant growth, sugar yield responses are likely from increased plant density and not from increased N fertilization.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This work was supported through funding from the American Sugarcane League and the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station. All scientific aspects of the research and subsequent preparation for publication were provided by the authors as employees of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sorghum bicolor – Biomass production – Fertilization – Plant density
Author Affiliation: Southeast Research Station, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, P. O. Box 569, Franklinton, LA 70438, USA
Subjects: Crop Improvement
Divisions: Sorghum
Depositing User: Mr. SanatKumar Behera
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2012 12:59
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2012 13:00
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