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How to Generate Yield in the First Year—A Three-Year Experiment on Miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus (Greef et Deuter)) Establishment under Maize (Zea mays L.)

1
University of Hohenheim, Institute of Crop Science, Biobased Products and Energy Crops (340b), Fruwirthstr. 23, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
2
College of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha, Hunan 410128, China
3
University of Hohenheim, Institute of Crop Science, Biostatistics (340c), Fruwirthstr. 23, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2019, 9(5), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9050237
Received: 18 April 2019 / Revised: 1 May 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 9 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioenergy Crops: Current Status and Future Prospects)
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Abstract

Miscanthus is one of the most promising perennial herbaceous industrial crops worldwide mainly due to its high resource-use efficiency and biomass yield. However, the extent of miscanthus cultivation across Europe is still lagging far behind its real potential. Major limiting factors are high initial costs and low biomass yields in the crop establishment period, especially the first year. This study explores the possibility of establishing miscanthus under maize to generate yields from the first year of cultivation onwards. A field trial with mono-cropped maize and two miscanthus establishment procedures, ‘under maize’ (MUM) and ‘standard’ (REF), was established in southwest Germany in 2016. Annual aboveground biomass was harvested in autumn (2016–2018). In 2016 and 2017, the miscanthus dry matter yield (DMY) was significantly lower in MUM than REF. However, the accumulated DMY of miscanthus and maize was as high in MUM as in maize cultivation alone. In 2018, there was no significant difference between the miscanthus DMY of REF (7.86 ± 0.77 Mg ha−1) and MUM (6.21 ± 0.77 Mg ha−1). The accumulated DMY over the three years was 31.7 Mg ha−1 for MUM, of which 10.1 Mg ha−1 were miscanthus-based, compared to 17.7 Mg ha−1 for REF. These results indicate that miscanthus establishment under maize could compensate for its lack of yield in the first year. View Full-Text
Keywords: Miscanthus; Maize; Biomass; Biogas; Cropping system; Cultivation; Establishment; Intercropping Miscanthus; Maize; Biomass; Biogas; Cropping system; Cultivation; Establishment; Intercropping
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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von Cossel, M.; Mangold, A.; Iqbal, Y.; Hartung, J.; Lewandowski, I.; Kiesel, A. How to Generate Yield in the First Year—A Three-Year Experiment on Miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus (Greef et Deuter)) Establishment under Maize (Zea mays L.). Agronomy 2019, 9, 237.

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