Sorghum Accessions for Use as Cover Crops and Biofuel Feedstocks

Abram Jared Bicksler, John B Masiunas


Phenotypes of sorghum species (Sorghum sp.) have characteristics making them valuable summer annual cover crops and/or biofuel feedstocks for temperate climates. In field studies conducted at Urbana, IL, USA, fourteen USDA sorghum landrace accessions and three commercial sorghum accessions were evaluated for their growth habits and regrowth potential. In Canonical Discriminant Analysis (CDA) analysis, the first two canonical variates were significant and accounted for 86% of the among-accession variability. Unmown tiller number, regrowth tiller number, and regrowth biomass best discriminated between accessions in CDA and scattergrams. The accessions clustered into three subgroups. Three multi-stemmed accessions (two commercial varieties and one USDA accession) with an ability to regrow clustered away from the bulk of the USDA sorghums. Multi-stemmed accessions are useful for breeding improved summer annual cover crops that are tall, produce copious amounts of biomass, and rapidly regrow after defoliation; although propensity to lodging and poor germination of accessions will need attention. Additionally, landrace sorghum accessions in the USDA germplasm collection are useful for breeding cover crop and biofuel feedstocks, due to their great height and biomass production, although it will be necessary to select for improved regrowth potential. Crosses between USDA landraces and the commercially available multi-stemmed accessions could lead to a sorghum cover crop and biofuel plant with great biomass and height and ability to regrow following defoliation.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Abram Jared Bicksler, John B Masiunas

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Journal of Agricultural Studies   ISSN 2166-0379


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