Biomass yield and feedstock quality of prairie cordgrass in response to seeding rate, row spacing, and nitrogen fertilization

Jia Guo, Santanu Thapa, Thomas Voigt, Vance Owens, Arvid Boe, D. K. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata Link) shows potential as a bioenergy feedstock in marginal croplands across much of the United States and Canada. Objectives of this study were to: (i) evaluate the effects of seeding rate and row spacing on biomass yield and (ii) determine effects of N fertilization on biomass yield and feedstock quality of prairie cordgrass. During 2012, a field trial composed of three seeding rates (162, 323, and 484 pure live seed [PLS] m–2) and three row spacing treatments (19, 38, and 76 cm) was established in Urbana, IL. In the same year, another field trial was established with four N rates (0, 84, 168, and 84/84 [equal split applications during spring and after V6 stage] kg N ha–1). During 2013 to 2016, no differences in biomass yields were observed under all combinations of seeding rate and row spacing treatment, except for a higher yield under 76-cm spacing in 2014. Biomass yields increased as N applications increased from 0 to 84 kg N ha–1, but no additional response occurred above this rate. Feedstock quality (cellulose, hemicellulose, and ash concentrations) was not affected by N rate. Biomass nutrient removal increased as N fertilization caused an increase in biomass yield except for biomass P. Our results indicated that prairie cordgrass could be successfully established in 76-cm row spacing with a seeding rate of 162 PLS m–2. The recommended N rate for maximum yield is 84 kg N ha–1 based on a post-killing frost harvest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2474-2485
Number of pages12
JournalAgronomy Journal
Volume109
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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