Thursday, October 23, 2008


They don’t grow much corn in western ND. It doesn’t rain enough, irrigation water is not readily available and the soils are not prime. However, there are some new technologies and crops which could open up areas of the Great Plains for biofuel production and hopefully positively impacting rural towns in ND and other states.
An article in ScienceDaily last month cited one of these crops, “In the largest field trial of its kind in the United States, researchers have determined that the giant perennial grass Miscanthus x gignateus outperforms current biofuel sources—by a lot.”

To offset 20% of U. S. gas production with corn or switchgrass would require taking about 25% of U. S. cropland, but Miscanthus could do it with only 9% according to research from the University of Illinois. By being a perennial, Miscanthus gets an earlier start on the growing season, starting to produce green leaves about six weeks earlier than corn and staying green well into October when corn starts shutting down in August. It also requires little fertilizer for optimal production.

One of their key findings was, “Our highest productivity is actually occurring south, on the poorest soils in the state. So that also shows us that this type of crop may be very good for marginal land that is not even being used for crop production.”

Key your eye on this crop, miscanthus.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Found this link to be as equally interesting: