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Evaluation of Sweet Sorghum Hybrids as a Bioenergy Feedstock: Germplasm Development, Agronomic Practices, and Conversion Efficiency

2007 DOT-RITA Integrated Award


PI: Dr. William Rooney (Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Soil & Crop Science)

Co-PIs: Dr. Jürg Blumenthal (Texas Cooperative Extension); Dr. Brent Bean (Texas Cooperative Extension and Texas Agricultural Experiment Station); Dr.Danielle Bellmer (Oklahoma State University); Dr. Ray Huhnke (Oklahoma State University); Dr. Donghai Wang (Kansas State University); Dr. Mark Marsalis (New Mexico State University); Mr. Rick Kochenower (Oklahoma State University); Dr. Scott Staggenborg (Kansas State University, Agronomy)

Funded: $327,125

Start Date: 07/01/2007

End Date: 06/30/2010


Expected Outcomes

The specific objectives of this project are: (1) Develop and select sweet sorghum hybrids for use as a bioenergy feedstock; (2) Examine adaptability of high biomass sorghum and sweet sorghum to the South Central U.S., including the Coastal Plains, High Plains, and the Central Great Plains; (3) Develop production guidelines for sweet sorghums for these production regions. Agronomic emphasis will be on seeding rate, nitrogen management, and multiple harvest efficacy and water use efficiency; (4) Evaluate the effects of juice press operation and time of harvest on juice yield and sugar content of the expressed juice; (5) Determine the relative efficiency of ethanol conversion from sweet sorghum (lbs/sugar/gallon ethanol) and assess the relative role genotype, environment and genotype x environment interaction on ethanol production potential.


From this project we will release inbred lines necessary to produce a sweet sorghum hybrid specifically for bioenergy production. These lines will be distributed based on licensing agreements negotiated by the Office of Technology Commercialization at Texas A&M University. Our expectation is that these materials will be available for distribution in 2010 and possibly if needed as early as 2009. At the time of distribution, and on a regional basis, extension bulletins and production management guides will be made available on hybrid adaptation, expected sugar yield, and optimum seeding rate under both dryland and irrigated conditions.

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