Long-term yields in annual and perennial bioenergy crops in the Midwestern United States

Ilsa B. Kantola, Michael D. Masters, Elena Blanc-Betes, Nuria Gomez-Casanovas, Evan H. DeLucia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many yield predictions in perennial bioenergy species have been made based on data collected during the establishment phase of growth or a limited number of long-term studies. Few studies compare multiple perennial crops with the dominant agricultural vegetation of the landscape over long time periods. Here, we present the results of 11 years of perennial crop management on fertile agricultural soils in central Illinois, compared with conventional row crop maize/soybean (Zea mays L., Glycine max L.) production. We examined the long-term productivity and drought susceptibility of Miscanthus x giganteus Greef et. Deu. ex. Hodkinson et Renvoize (miscanthus), Panicum virgatum L., Cave-in-Rock cultivar (switchgrass), and a native prairie mix, in contrast to annual maize/soybean agriculture. Long-term yields for miscanthus and switchgrass failed to reach initial predictions made during the establishment phase; however, in miscanthus, the 11th year of production shows little progressive yield loss with age, exceeding the modeled limit for the onset of age-related decline. Harvest timing and differences in yields from hand and machine harvests in perennial crops likely contribute to overestimates of potential yields. Application of fertilizer to mature miscanthus resulted in significant increases in yield after a severe drought, though modeled effects of management and drought in miscanthus point to a more complex mechanism for yield response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)694-706
Number of pages13
JournalGCB Bioenergy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • DAYCENT model
  • bioenergy/biofuels
  • drought
  • miscanthus
  • perennial grasses
  • root allocation
  • yields

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Waste Management and Disposal


Dive into the research topics of 'Long-term yields in annual and perennial bioenergy crops in the Midwestern United States'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this