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Biomass yield assessment of five potential energy crops grown in southern Ontario, Canada

Marsal, F., Thevathasan, N.V., Guillot, S., Mann, J., Gordon, A.M., Thimmanagari, M., Deen, W., Silim, S., Soolanayakanahally, R., Sidders, D. (2016). Biomass yield assessment of five potential energy crops grown in southern Ontario, Canada, 90(5), 773-783.


© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Biomass yields of five commonly grown bioenergy crops, miscanthus, switchgrass, poplar (2293-19), willow (SX 67) and a mix of native grasses (polyculture) were assessed on a marginal land. When long-term yield responses were examined, miscanthus yield significantly increased from 5.96 ± 1.06 odt ha−1 y−1 in 2011 to 17.03 ± 8.1 odt ha−1 y−1 in 2014. Willow yield also increased from 3.21 ± 2.92 odt ha−1 y−1 in 2011 to 12.15 ± 4.94 odt ha−1 y−1 in 2014. However, for willow at this stage, we only compared the 1st year yields between 2011 and 2014, hence, three-year mature average yield in 2016 (mature stage) may not be much different from 12.15 odt ha−1 y−1, as willow yield increase over time is not linear. Among all other tested biomass species; polyculture, switchgrass and poplar, they recorded numerically higher yields during the mature growth stage (2013/2014) but, failed to reach statistical significance (p > 0.05). In this study, we separated the growth stages as; early (2010/2011) and mature (2013/2014) stages. At the early stage, poplar and polyculture recorded significant yield differences (p = 0.005) and poplar biomass yield was significantly higher (7.71 ± 2. odt ha−1 y−1) than polyculture (2.96 ± 0.43 odt ha−1 y−1). At the mature stage (2013/2014), miscanthus biomass yield was significantly higher than the two other tested herbaceous species (polyculture and switchgrass). Miscanthus yield was 17.03 ± 8.10 odt ha−1 y−1, which was almost three times higher than polyculture (5.64 ± 0.40 odt ha−1 y−1) and switchgrass (5.99 ± 0.46 odt ha−1 y−1) biomass yields. In relation to fertilization effect, miscanthus, polyculture and willow significantly and positively responded to fertilization. The significant yield increases between unfertilized and fertilized treatments were: 12.06, 10.61, and 8.8 odt ha−1 y−1 for willow, miscanthus and polyculture, respectively. Miscanthus, willow and polyculture yields as influenced by fertilizer treatment were 23.81 ± 3.55, 21.80 ± 5.99, 12.13 ± 0.66 odt ha−1 y−1, respectively.

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