BioEnergy Research

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 276–291

Perennial Biomass Grasses and the Mason–Dixon Line: Comparative Productivity across Latitudes in the Southern Great Plains


    • USDA-ARS
  • L. C. Anderson
    • formerly with University of Texas
  • M.-V. V. Johnson
  • K. D. Behrman
    • USDA-ARS
    • formerly with University of Texas
  • M. Brakie
    • USDA-NRCS East Texas Plant Materials Center
  • D. Burner
    • USDA-ARS
    • formerly USDA-ARS
  • R. L. Cordsiemon
    • USDA-NRCS Elsberry Plant Materials Center
  • P. A. Fay
    • USDA-ARS
  • F. B. Fritschi
    • University of Missouri
  • J. H. HouxIII
    • University of Missouri
  • C. Hawkes
    • University of Texas
  • T. Juenger
    • University of Texas
  • J. Kaiser
    • USDA-NRCS Elsberry Plant Materials Center
  • T. H. Keitt
    • University of Texas
  • J. Lloyd-Reilley
    • USDA-NRCS Kika de la Garza Plant Materials Center
  • S. Maher
    • USDA-NRCS Kika de la Garza Plant Materials Center
  • R. Raper
    • Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, formerly USDA-ARS
  • A. Scott
    • Rio Farms, Inc.
  • A. Shadow
    • USDA-NRCS East Texas Plant Materials Center
  • C. West
    • Texas Tech University, Lubbock, formerly with University of Arkansas
  • Y. Wu
    • Oklahoma State University
  • L. Zibilske
    • formerly with USDA-ARS

DOI: 10.1007/s12155-012-9254-7

Cite this article as:
Kiniry, J.R., Anderson, L.C., Johnson, M.V. et al. Bioenerg. Res. (2013) 6: 276. doi:10.1007/s12155-012-9254-7


Understanding latitudinal adaptation of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and Miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus J. M. Greef & Deuter ex Hodk. & Renvoize) to the southern Great Plains is key to maximizing productivity by matching each grass variety to its optimal production environment. The objectives of this study were: (1) to quantify latitudinal variation in production of representative upland switchgrass ecotypes (Blackwell, Cave-in-Rock, and Shawnee), lowland switchgrass ecotypes (Alamo, Kanlow), and Miscanthus in the southern half of the US Great Plains and (2) to investigate the environmental factors affecting yield variation. Leaf area and yield were measured on plots at 10 locations in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. More cold winter days led to decreased subsequent Alamo switchgrass yields and increased subsequent upland switchgrass yields. More hot-growing season days led to decreased Kanlow and Miscanthus yields. Increased drought intensity also contributed to decreased Miscanthus yields. Alamo switchgrass had the greatest radiation use efficiency (RUE) with a mean of 4.3 g per megajoule intercepted PAR and water use efficiency (WUE) with a mean of 4.5 mg of dry weight per gram of water transpired. The representative RUE values for other varieties ranged from 67 to 80 % of Alamo’s RUE value and 67 to 87 % of Alamo’s WUE. These results will provide valuable inputs to process-based models to realistically simulate these important perennial grasses in this region and to assess the environmental impacts of production on water use and nutrient demands. In addition, it will also be useful for landowners and companies choosing the most productive perennial grasses for biofuel production.


Biofuel grassesSwitchgrassMiscanthusSimulation modeling

Supplementary material

12155_2012_9254_MOESM1_ESM.docx (28 kb)
Table S1Loadings of environmental variables to create the first two principal components (DOCX 27 kb)
12155_2012_9254_MOESM2_ESM.docx (29 kb)
Table S2Principal component analysis results with factors affecting final biomass yield each year (DOCX 28 kb)
12155_2012_9254_MOESM3_ESM.docx (186 kb)
Figure S1Regional adaptation zones of biofuel crops (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, cited in [30]; DOCX 186 kb)
12155_2012_9254_MOESM4_ESM.docx (903 kb)
Figure S2DOCX 903 kb

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (outside the USA) 2012