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Intra-annual changes in biomass, carbon, and nitrogen dynamics at 4-year old switchgrass field trials in west Tennessee, USA

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Switchgrass is a potential bioenergy crop that could promote soil C sequestration in some environments. We compared four switchgrass cultivars on a well-drained Alfisol to test for differences in biomass, C, and N dynamics during the fourth growing season. There was no difference (P >0.05) among cultivars and no significant cultivar×time interaction in analyses of dry mass, C stocks, or N stocks in aboveground biomass and surface litter. At the end of the growing season, mean (±SE) aboveground biomass was 2.1±0.13kgm⁻², and surface litter dry mass was approximately 50% of aboveground biomass. Prior to harvest, the live root:shoot biomass ratio was 0.77. There was no difference (P >0.05) among cultivars for total biomass, C, and N stocks belowground. Total belowground biomass (90cm soil depth) as well as coarse (≥1mm diameter) and fine (<1mm diameter) live root biomass increased from April to October. Dead roots were <10% of live root biomass to a depth of 90cm. Net production of total belowground biomass (505±132gm⁻²) occurred in the last half of the growing season. The increase in total live belowground biomass (426±139gm⁻²) was more or less evenly divided among rhizomes, coarse, and fine roots. The N budget for annual switchgrass production was closely balanced with 6.3gNm⁻² removed by harvest of aboveground biomass and 6.7gNm⁻² supplied by fertilization. At the location of our study in west Tennessee, intra-annual changes in biomass, C, and N stocks belowground were potentially important to crop management for soil C sequestration.
Garten, C.T. , Smith, J.L. , Tyler, D.D. , Amonette, J.E. , Bailey, V.L. , Brice, D.J. , Castro, H.F. , Graham, R.L. , Gunderson, C.A. , Izaurralde, R.C. , Jardine, P.M. , Jastrow, J.D. , Kerley, M.K. , Matamala, R. , Mayes, M.A. , Metting, F.B. , Miller, R.M. , Moran, K.K. , Post, W.M. , Sands, R.D. , Schadt, C.W. , Phillips, J.R. , Thomson, A.M. , Vugteveen, T. , West, T.O. , Wullschleger, S.D.
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Agriculture, ecosystems & environment 2010 Feb. 15, v. 136, no. 1-2
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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