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The Performance of Mesotrophic Arrhenatheretum Grassland under Different Cutting Frequency Regimes for Biomass Production in Southwest Germany

Department of Biobased Products and Energy Crops (340b), Institute of Crop Science, University of Hohenheim, Fruwirthstr. 23, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
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Agriculture 2019, 9(9), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9090199
Received: 31 July 2019 / Revised: 7 September 2019 / Accepted: 8 September 2019 / Published: 11 September 2019
Biogas production is a key renewable energy pathway for a more sustainable future bioeconomy. However, there is a crucial trade-off between biomass productivity and social-ecological sustainability of available biogas cropping systems. Permanent grassland has been frequently promoted as a promising perennial cropping system for biomass production. Three- and four-cut regimes are usually the highest-yielding and thus preferable for biogas production. A three-year field trial in southwest Germany investigated biomass yield and biochemical composition of mesotrophic Arrhenatheretum grassland under three cutting regimes (two-, three- and four-cut). For the three-cut regime, a preliminary biogas batch test was conducted. The three-cut regime had the highest annual accumulated dry matter yield (11.8–14.8 Mg ha−1), an average specific methane yield of 0.289 m3N kg−1 volatile solids−1 and an accumulated annual methane yield of 3167–3893 m³N ha−1. The four-cut regime performed least favorably due to a lower dry matter yield than the three-cut regime, the highest ash content and the highest nitrogen content. Thus, the three-cut regime promises the best yield performance, whereas the two-cut regime can potentially provide more ecosystem services such as biodiversity conservation and wild-game protection. Consequently, the two-cut regime could help improve the social-ecological sustainability of biogas crop cultivation. View Full-Text
Keywords: permanent grassland; cutting regime; biomass production; methane yield; perennial system; bioeconomy; bioenergy permanent grassland; cutting regime; biomass production; methane yield; perennial system; bioeconomy; bioenergy
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von Cossel, M.; Bauerle, A.; Boob, M.; Thumm, U.; Elsaesser, M.; Lewandowski, I. The Performance of Mesotrophic Arrhenatheretum Grassland under Different Cutting Frequency Regimes for Biomass Production in Southwest Germany. Agriculture 2019, 9, 199.

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