Response to Nitrogen of Sweet Pearl Millet and Sweet Sorghum Grown for Ethanol in Eastern Canada
Thivierge, M.N., Chantigny, M.H., Bélanger, G., Seguin, P., Bertrand, A., Vanasse, A. (2015). Response to Nitrogen of Sweet Pearl Millet and Sweet Sorghum Grown for Ethanol in Eastern Canada, 8(2), 807-820. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12155-014-9558-x
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Sweet pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.BR.] and sweet sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] are considered for ethanol production in eastern Canada, but their response to N fertilization is not well established. Our objectives were (i) to compare both species for dry matter (DM), water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC), and estimated ethanol yields and (ii) to determine their response to mineral N rate (0, 40, 80, 120, and 160 kg N ha−1), (iii) mineral vs. organic N (liquid swine and dairy manures at 80 kg total N ha−1), and (iv) single vs. split N application (80 kg ha−1 mineral N). The two species were grown for 2 years on sandy loams in two ecozones (Mixedwood Plains [MWP] and Boreal Shield [BS]) with contrasting temperature regime. Both species responded similarly to mineral N fertilization, with maximum WSC yield at 86 kg N ha−1 at MWP and 91 kg N ha−1 at BS, and maximum DM yield at 121 kg N ha−1 at MWP and 107 kg N ha−1 at BS. Mineral N fertilization at 80 kg ha−1 resulted in higher DM and WSC yields than the manures, which showed fertilizer N equivalences varying from 15 to 52 %. Splitting mineral N rate between seeding and the four-leaf stage did not improve yield compared to a single application. Sweet sorghum had higher averaged WSC concentration and yield than sweet pearl millet (249 vs. 134 g WSC kg−1 DM; 3.41 vs. 2.02 Mg WSC ha−1) and appears more promising for ethanol production in eastern Canada.
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