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Intercropping Winter Leguminous Cover Crops for Sustainable Energy Cane Production


2021 USDA-NIFA Integrated Award


Principal Investigators and affiliations:

PI:  Dr. Fugen Dou, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center- Beaumont, TX

Co-PI: Dr. Lloyd Wilson, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station

             Dr. Yubin Yang, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center- Beaumont, TX

             Dr. Tanumoy Bera, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center- Beaumont, TX

             Dr. Paul White, USDA-ARS- Sugarcane Research

             Dr. Patrick Inglett, University of Florida

Funded: $341,991

Start Date: 2/01/2021

End Date: 1/31/2024


Project Goal

To develop economically and environmentally sustainable energy cane production in the south-central region of the United States.



  1. Quantify the effects of intercropping winter leguminous cover crops on weed pressure, N supply, and biomass yield in energy cane production
  2. Determine the impact of intercropping winter leguminous cover crops on N loss, soil C sequestration, soil microbial biomass, and N-regulating enzyme activities
  3. Conduct comprehensive analyses on the economic viability and environment sustainability of energy cane production with intercropping winter leguminous cover crops


Expected Project Outcomes

  1. Economic feasibility of using winter cover crops to reduce winter weed pressure and supply N for energy cane production.
  2. Energy cane biomass production potential using residual N only, winter cover crops, winter cover crops augmented with conventional fertilizer, and the use of conventional fertilizer alone.
  3. N uptake by crop biomass and losses from percolation, surface runoff and N2O emissions for each treatment.
  4. Potential of winter cover crop singly or in combination with augmented conventional fertilizer to improve soil C sequestration.
  5. Development of best management practices that optimize economic and environmental benefits.
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