Journal article Open Access

Long-Term Yield and Quality Performance of Perennial Energy Grasses (Agropyron spp.) on Marginal Land

Ciria, C. S.; Barro, R.; Sanz, M.; Ciria, P.

The cultivation of perennial grasses is one of the most desirable alternatives as energy feedstock, but it is dicult to achieve competitive yields under Mediterranean marginal conditions. The aim of this study was to assess the performance of three cool-season grasses (Agropyron spp.) from an agronomic and energetic point of view by comparing the dry matter (DM) yields, rain use
eciency, chemical composition, and biomass quality over an eight-year period in Spain under marginal rainfed conditions. The tall wheatgrass (Agropyron elongatum (Host) Beauv.) cultivars, Alkar (4.8 Mg DMha􀀀1) and Jose (4.7 Mg DMha􀀀1), achieved the highest yields. Productions below 0.5 Mg DMha􀀀1 were obtained when rainfall was lower than 150 mm between March and June. The biomass obtained from the tested grasses showed relatively high contents of ash, silicon, and alkali elements. Net calorific values ranged between 16.7 and 18.5 MJkg􀀀1 db. Di erences in the composition among species and cultivars are not likely to a ect their combustion behavior from a practical point of view. The ash content, as well as the concentrations of K, S, Na, and Cl, tended to decrease over the years. The results o ered would be very useful for the implementation of this type of crop in marginal land.

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