Istituto di biometeorologia     
Di Virgilio N., Monti A., Venturi G. Spatial variability of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) yield as related to soil parameters in a small field. In: Field Crops Research, vol. 101 (2) pp. 232 - 239. Elsevier B.V, 2007.
The harvested biomass of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is generally much lower than its potential; this may be due to several factors including not recovering all the biomass at harvest, weed competition, pests, disease and spatial variation of soil features. The objective of this research was to quantify the yield spatial variation of switchgrass and relate it to soil parameters, in a field of about 5 ha, in 2004 and 2005. Several thematic maps of soil parameters and biomass yield were produced using GIS and geostatistical methods. Soil parameters changed consistently within very short distances and biomass yield varied from 3 to more than 20 Mg ha(-1). This remarkable variation indicates that the potential for increasing switchgrass productivity is a real prospect. Furthermore, spatial variation of yield showed similar patterns in the 2 years (r = 0.38**), and therefore a major influence of site characteristics on switchgrass yield can be assumed to occur. Significant correlations were found between biomass yield and soil N, P, moisture and pH as well as between soil parameters. Some soil parameters such as sand content showed patchy spatial distribution. Conversely, a reliable spatial dependence could not be identified for other parameters such as P. Further research is needed.
DOI: 10.1016/j.fcr.2006.11.009
Subject Biomass
Soil parameters
Spatial Variation

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