Native Texas Perennial Bunchgrass for Bioenergy Feedstock and Ruminant Nutrition

Project Overview

GS22-273
Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2022: $14,300.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2024
Grant Recipient: Tarleton State Univeristy
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. James Muir
Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Commodities

  • Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial)

Practices

  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Energy: biofuel feedstocks

    Proposal abstract:

    Biofuel is a renewable, plant-based substance grown and processed to generate fuel. Two primary categories of biofuels include first-generation and second-generation biomass. My research will focus on low-input, commercially available, perennial Texas bunchgrass species to find if they provide the necessary components to efficiently generate second-generation lignocellulosic bioenergy. With the highly invasive and input-dependent Bermudagrass as the predominant warm-season grass for hay crop, there exists a need for an equally productive and nutritious native bunchgrass with added potential as biofuel feedstock. The project hypothesizes that low-input, native Texas perennial bunchgrass species provide bioenergy feedstock and sufficient nutrition for ruminant animals. My study will look at two objectives: 1. determine the plant nutrient value at peak nutrition; and 2. evaluate end-of-season plant bioenergy potential. This research is novel and exciting as lignocellulose biomass-derived biofuels and biochemicals are emerging as a possible solution to increasing demand for sustainably farmed clean energy sources and encourage the use of sustainable grazing systems.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The objective of this study is to quantify and compare native and introduced bunchgrass species and their accessions in current Texas Native Seeds evaluation plots across five ecoregions (NW, NC, C, NE and SC Texas) for IVD, P, N, C, ADF, NDF, ash, and lignin contents, dry matter yields, height, base circumference, and canopy width. In addition, the project will compare summer plus autumn forage harvest versus single-autumn bioenergy harvest.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.