Energy sorghum may be ideal for producing bioenergy crops, according to the University of Illinois. 

Perennial grasses like miscanthus are a primary target for bioenergy crops because of their sustainability advantages, but they take several years to establish. 

Maize and other annual crops are easier to manage with traditional farming, but they are tougher on the environment. 

A study by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation found that energy sorghum behaves more like miscanthus in the way it efficiently captures light and uses water to produce abundant biomass. 

It has higher nitrogen emissions like maize, but researchers believe careful fertilizer management could reduce those levels. 

The study offers a first look at how energy sorghum compares to maize and miscanthus grown in the Midwest. 

One researcher says sorghum appears to be a “middle-road crop,” with an annual growth cycle but the ability to use much less water than maize to produce “a ton” of biomass.

(Story Courtesy of the NAFB News Service)