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Sustainable development of the bioenergy industry will depend upon the amount and quality of bioenergy feedstock produced. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a model lignocellulosic bioenergy crop but critical information is lacking for improved management, growth, and development simulation model calibration. A field study was conducted near Ames, IA during 2012–2013 with the objective to evaluate upland (“Cave-in-Rock”, ‘Trailblazer’ and ‘Blackwell’) and lowland (“Kanlow” and “Alamo”) switchgrass ecotypes for harvest timing on morphology (i.e., phenology, leaf area index (LAI), and biomass yield). The experiment used a randomized complete block design, with three upland and two lowland varieties harvested at six dates annually. In both years, delaying harvest to later maturity increased biomass yield; lowland cultivars produced greater biomass yield (6.15 tons ha−1) than upland ecotypes (5.10 tons ha−1). Lowland ecotypes had delayed reproductive development compared with upland ecotypes. At the end of both growing seasons, upland ecotypes had greater mean stage count (MSC) than lowland ecotypes. “Cave-in-Rock” had greatest MSC and LAI, but did not produce the greatest biomass. Relationships were nonlinear between MSC and biomass yield, with significant cultivar–year interaction. The relationship between biomass yield and MSC will be useful for improving switchgrass, including cultivar selection, fertilizer application, and optimum harvest time.
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Aurangzaib, Muhammad; Moore, Kenneth J.; Lenssen, Andrew W.; Archontoulis, Sotirios V.; Heaton, Emily A.; and Fei, Shuizhang, "Developmental Morphology and Biomass Yield of Upland and Lowland Switchgrass Ecotypes Grown in Iowa" (2018). Agronomy Publications. 561.