Journal article Open Access

Long-Term Productivity of Thirteen Lowland and Upland Switchgrass Ecotypes in the Mediterranean Region

E. Alexopoulou; F. Zanetti; E. G. Papazoglou; K. Iordanoglou; A. Monti


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    "title": "Long-Term Productivity of Thirteen Lowland and Upland Switchgrass Ecotypes in the Mediterranean Region", 
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      "volume": "2020", 
      "issue": "10", 
      "pages": "923", 
      "title": "Agronomy"
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    "creators": [
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        "name": "E. Alexopoulou"
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        "name": "F. Zanetti"
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      {
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    "description": "<p>Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) has been identified in the USA as an ideal biomass crop,&nbsp;in relation to its wide environmental suitability, mainly linked to the availability of both upland and&nbsp;lowland ecotypes, allowing the possibility of growing this species in most of the North American&nbsp;region. Switchgrass is conventionally grown for forage, but more recently, it has been considered<br>\nas a model biofuel crop. Early European studies on switchgrass as a bioenergy crop started in the&nbsp;late 1990s, when a multi-location field trial was established in Greece (Aliartos) and Italy (Ozzano)&nbsp;to compare the productivity of 13 switchgrass genotypes, including upland (Carthage, Blackwell,&nbsp;Caddo, CIR, Forestburg, SU 94-1, Summer) and lowland (Alamo, Kanlow, Pangburn, SL 93-2, SL 93-3,<br>\nSL94-1) genotypes. The scope was to identify the most suitable ecotype within each environment and,&nbsp;possibly, the best performing variety. The trials lasted 17 years (1998&ndash;2014) in Greece and 13 years&nbsp;(1998&ndash;2010) in Italy. While in Italy the trial was rainfed and unfertilized, in Greece, where the soil was&nbsp;marginal, drip irrigation was always applied, and the plots were fertilized regularly. The biomass&nbsp;yields in Greece, as averages across the 17 years, were similar for the lowland and upland varieties<br>\n(11.5 vs. 11.1 Mg ha\udbc0\udc001, respectively), while in Italy, as averages across the 13 years, the di erences&nbsp;were relevant: 15.4 vs. 11.3 Mg ha\udbc0\udc001 for lowland and upland, respectively. Alamo (lowland) was the&nbsp;most productive variety, both in Greece and Italy, with average annual yields of 12.7 and 16.6 Mg ha<sup>-1</sup>,&nbsp;respectively; CIR in Greece (10.1 Mg ha\udbc0\udc001) and Forestburg in Italy (9.1 Mg ha\udbc0\udc001) (both upland) were&nbsp;the least productive genotypes. The present results demonstrate the good suitability of switchgrass&nbsp;as biomass crop for the Mediterranean climate. Despite the very marginal soil (i.e., very shallow&nbsp;and with a sandy texture) in the Greek trial, the application of regular fertilization and irrigation&nbsp;produced biomass yields above 11 Mg ha<sup>1</sup> (grand mean) in the present 17-year-long study.</p>"
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