In Mediterranean rainfed cropping systems, drought-resistant crops can increase yield and availability of forage during the summer period. In North America, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) has been used for decades as pasture and fodder. In Europe, switchgrass has been investigated mainly for its potential as an energy crop. e overall aim of the present study was to analyse the suitability of switchgrass as a forage crop in a Mediterranean environment. A eld trial was carried out in Central Italy (Pisa) to evaluate the productivity and nutritive value in mature stands of two switchgrass varieties (Alamo and Blackwell). Alamo reached the maturity for hay harvest (boot stage) in August, about one-month delay with respect to Blackwell. At this stage, the biomass was 13.3 and 7.5 t ha-1 of dry matter (DM) in Alamo and Blackwell, respectively. Both varieties produced a summer regrowth harvested in autumn. Nutritive value declined during the growing season due to the increase of bre and the reduction of protein content. Saponin content signi cantly di ered between varieties and according to the growth stage, ranging from 1.8 to 4.5 mg g-1 DM. is study provides useful knowledge to favour the introduction of perennial grasses as forage crops in the Mediterranean, leading to several environmental bene ts when compared with the annual species that currently cover half of the forage cropland in Tuscany.
|Titolo:||Suitability of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) as a forage crop in the Mediterranean area|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||4.1 Contributo Atti Congressi/Articoli in extenso|