Impact of rhizome quality on Miscanthus establishment in claypan soil landscapes

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2016-07-01
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Randall, Bryan
Yost, Matt
Kitchen, Newell
Stelzer, Henry
Thompson, Allen
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Heaton, Emily
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Agronomy

The Department of Agronomy seeks to teach the study of the farm-field, its crops, and its science and management. It originally consisted of three sub-departments to do this: Soils, Farm-Crops, and Agricultural Engineering (which became its own department in 1907). Today, the department teaches crop sciences and breeding, soil sciences, meteorology, agroecology, and biotechnology.

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The Department of Agronomy was formed in 1902. From 1917 to 1935 it was known as the Department of Farm Crops and Soils.

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1902–present

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  • Department of Farm Crops and Soils (1917–1935)

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Abstract

Thousands of eroded-soil hectares in the U.S. Midwest have been planted to Miscanthus × giganteus as an industrial or bioenergy crop in recent years, but few studies on factors affecting crop establishment have been performed on these soils. The objective of this study was to quantify how both rhizome quality and depth of soil from the surface to the first argillic horizon (or depth to claypan (DTC1)) affected M. × giganteus establishment. Rhizome quality (i.e., mass, length, diameter, viable buds, score), emergence, growth, and winter survival were measured on rhizomes planted in 2013 at Columbia and 2014 at Centralia, Missouri on clay loam soils with a range of DTC. Rhizome emergence and early tillering slightly increased as DTC increased, but these effects on growth diminished as the season progressed. Rhizome emergence and growth were more influenced by some metrics of rhizome quality; the odds of a rhizome emerging increased by 25 and 40% with each 1 cm and 1 bud increase in rhizome length and active bud count, respectively. Furthermore, late tiller counts, basal circumference, and end-of-season biomass increased as rhizome length and mass increased. Winter survival could not be estimated as well as emergence, but the odds of survival across sites increased by 5% with each 1 cm increase in rhizome length. When DTC was categorized as soil erosion class or landscape position, only the backslope at Centralia caused greater M. × giganteus growth than other positions. These findings demonstrate the resiliency of M. × giganteus for early growth and establishment on even the most degraded parts of the claypan soil landscape and indicate that propagating larger rhizomes will improve establishment.

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This article is published as Randall, Bryan K., Matt A. Yost, Newell R. Kitchen, Emily A. Heaton, Henry E. Stelzer, and Allen L. Thompson. "Impact of rhizome quality on Miscanthus establishment in claypan soil landscapes." Industrial Crops and Products 85 (2016): 331-340. doi: 10.1016/j.indcrop.2015.12.040. Posted with permission.

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