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  • Institute of Crop Science (340)

    Department of Biobased Products and Energy Crops 340b)

    Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Iris Lewandowski

    How can miscanthus be integrated most

    efficiently into agricultural production

    systems?

    Dissertation

    In fulfilment of the requirements for the degree

    Doctor scientiarum agriculturae (Dr. sc. agr.)

    submitted to the

    Faculty of Agricultural Sciences

    by Anja Mangold

    Date of the acceptance of the dissertation: 26.07.2019

    Date of oral exam: 09.10.2019

  • Dean Faculty of Agricultural Science

    Prof. Dr. Ralf T. Vögele

    Thesis Committee

    Supervisor

    Prof. Dr. Iris Lewandowski

    University of Hohenheim, Germany

    Co-Supervisors

    Prof. Dr. Ralf Pude

    University of Bonn, Germany

    Prof. Dr. Uwe Ludewig

    University of Hohenheim, Germany

  • I | Anja Mangold

    Content

    List of Acronyms ...................................................................................................................... III

    Abstract ...................................................................................................................................... 1

    Zusammenfassung ...................................................................................................................... 3

    1 General introduction ................................................................................................................ 6

    1.1 Perennial biomass crops for a growing bioeconomy ........................................................ 6

    1.2 Inefficiencies in miscanthus cultivation ........................................................................... 8

    1.3 Aim of the study ............................................................................................................. 14

    1.4 Publications .................................................................................................................... 16

    1.5 References ...................................................................................................................... 18

    2 Novel establishment way for miscanthus .............................................................................. 23

    3 Reintegration of miscanthus fields into a crop rotation ........................................................ 38

    4 Miscanthus for biogas production: The effect of genotype, harvest date and ensiling on

    digestibility and methane hectare yield of miscanthus ............................................................. 53

    4.1 Harvest date and leaf:stem ratio determine methane hectare yield of miscanthus biomass

    .............................................................................................................................................. 53

    4.2 Miscanthus for biogas production: Influence of harvest date and ensiling on digestibility

    and methane hectare yield .................................................................................................... 68

    5 General Discussion ................................................................................................................ 84

    5.1 Efficiency of miscanthus cultivation .............................................................................. 84

    Nutrient-use and environmental efficiency ....................................................................... 85

    Land-use efficiency ........................................................................................................... 88

    5.2 Integration of miscanthus into agricultural production systems ..................................... 92

    Miscanthus utilization pathways ....................................................................................... 92

    Possible land types to cultivate miscanthus on ................................................................. 96

    Integrating miscanthus into the farm operation procedures .............................................. 98

    Environmental services of miscanthus .............................................................................. 98

    5.3 Conclusion .................................................................................................................... 100

    5.4 References .................................................................................................................... 102

    6 Danksagung ......................................................................................................................... 109

    7 Curriculum Vitae ................................................................................................................. 111

  • II | Anja Mangold

  • III | Anja Mangold

    List of Acronyms

    A annum (Latin = year)

    ADF acid detergent fibre

    ADL acid detergent lignin

    a.s.l. above sea level

    C collar

    C carbon

    C:N ratio carbon : nitrogen ratio

    CH4 methane

    Cm centimetre

    cm3 cubic centimetre

    D depth

    DM dry matter

    DMC dry matter content

    DMCsilage dry matter content of silage

    DMY dry matter yield

    EMI European Miscanthus Improvement

    e.g. exempli gratia (Latin = for example)

    FIA flow injection analyser

    FM fresh matter

    G gram

    HD harvest date

    GC gas chromatograph

    GWel gigawatt electric

  • IV | Anja Mangold

    Ha hectare

    hPa hecto Pascal

    H hour

    HPLC high performance liquid chromatography

    i.e. id est (Latin = that is)

    K Potassium

    Kg kilogramme

    LAZBW Landwirtschaftliches Zentrum Baden-Württemberg

    LTZ Landwirtschaftliches Technologiezentrum Augustenberg

    M metre

    m² square metre

    m³ cubic metre

    Mm millimetre

    Mxg Miscanthus × giganteus

    MSac Miscanthus sacchariflorus

    MSin Miscanthus sinensis

    MY methane hectare yield

    N nitrogen

    NDF neutral detergent fibre

    (N)m³ (norm) cubic metre

    (N)ml (norm) millilitre

    Nmin soil mineral nitrogen

    No number

    N2O Nitrous oxide

  • V | Anja Mangold

    NO3- nitrate

    Ns non significant

    oDM organic dry matter

    OPM Optimisc (Optimizing Miscanthus Biomass Production)

    P Phosphorus

    R rhizome

    Rpm rounds per minute

    R+C rhizome + collar

    SMY substrate-specific methane yield

    T ton

    VDLUFA Association of German Agricultural Analytic and Research Institutes

  • 1 | Anja Mangold

    Abstract

    Abstract

    The demand for biomass is increasing steadily, as fossil resources are gradually being replaced

    by biomass within the context of a developing bioeconomy. Plant-based feedstocks currently

    used for this replacement virtually all come from annual crops. However, perennial crops such

    as miscanthus are expected to be more environmentally benign due to their generally low-input

    requirements and high yield potential.

    Despite these advantages, the current cultivation area of miscanthus in Europe is quite low. One

    reason for this is that the cultivation and utilization of miscanthus faces several challenges. For

    example, the most common propagation method via rhizomes is very labour-intensive and thus

    expensive, leading to high establishment costs. Seed propagation is a promising option to

    reduce costs, but is not suitable for sterile genotypes. Another challenge to be overcome is the

    problem of re-integrating former miscanthus fields into crop rotations. The crop following

    miscanthus needs to be highly competitive in order not to be impaired by resprouting

    miscanthus shoots and thus able to achieve high yields. Additionally, there is only little

    information available on the effect of miscanthus cultivation and its subsequent removal on soil

    N content. This information is however crucial, for example to avoid environmental problems

    being caused by a potential nitrogen leaching after a miscanthus removal. If miscanthus is to be

    utilized as a biogas substrate, there are further challenges to be overcome. Firstly, the optimal

    harvest date needs to be defined with regard to the methane hectare yield and resilience of the

    crop to green cutting. Secondly, as a continuous supply of biomass throughout the year is

    necessary, ensiling will become a relevant topic. However, information is still required on the

    optimal harvest date to achieve a sufficient silage quality and the effects of ensiling on methane

    hectare yield. Finally, the suitability of miscanthus for biogas production is also influenced by

    biomass quality such as the proportions of leaf and stem. This has already been established for

    miscanthus utilization in combustion but has not yet been sufficiently investigated for anaerobic

    digestion.

    In summary, there are a number of uncertainties involved in miscanthus establishment, removal

    and utilization, which currently hamper its integration into agricultural production systems.

    From a bioeconomic point of view,

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