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Yield projections for switchgrass as a biofuel crop
Date:7/11/2010

. A model developed from the data, based on long-term climate records, projected maximum yields in a corridor westward from the mid-Atlantic coast to Kansas and Oklahoma. Low precipitation west of the Great Plans limited yields in that region.

"Field trials are often planted to provide local estimates of crop production," said Stan Wullschleger, a crop physiologist who led the study. "However, viewed in a broader context, results from individual field trials can contribute to a larger perspective and provide regional to national scale estimates of yield and the variables that determine that yield."

Lee Lynd, co-author on the article and Steering Committee Chair of the Global Sustainable Bioenergy Project observed, "This is the largest data base analyzed to date for energy crop productivity as a function of geographically distributed variables. The finding that there is no bias with respect to either plot size or land productivity is important. A promising future direction is to apply the modeling approaches taken here to additional bioenergy crops at a global scale in combination with various land use scenarios."

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Dartmouth College continue to explore factors involved in the production of biomass from switchgrass and other dedicated energy crops. One of the lessons learned from the current analysis is that yield data from an even broader range of soil and climatic conditions will be useful in building better predictive models. Future studies should extend the geographic distribution of field trials and thus improve our understanding of biomass production for promising biofuels like switchgrass.


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Contact: Sara Uttech
suttech@sciencesocieties.org
608-268-4948
American Society of Agronomy
Source:Eurekalert  

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