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Forbs enhance productivity of unfertilised grass-clover leys and support low-carbon bioenergy

Cong, W-F; Jing, J; Rasmussen, J; Søegaard, K and Eriksen, J (2017) Forbs enhance productivity of unfertilised grass-clover leys and support low-carbon bioenergy. Scientific Reports, 7, p. 1422.

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Intensively managed grasslands are dominated by highly productive grass-clover mixtures. Increasing crop diversity by inclusion of competitive forbs may enhance biomass production and sustainable biofuel production. Here we examined if one or all of three forbs (chicory, Cichorium intybus L.; caraway, Carum carvi L.; plantain, Plantago lanceolata L.) included in ryegrass-red clover mixtures enhanced above- and below-ground productivity, and assessed their biofuel potentials, based on a three-year experiment with and without fertilisation as cattle slurry. We determined herbage yield, standing root biomass, and estimated methane energy output and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per energy unit using life cycle assessment. Results showed that plantain-containing grass-clover mixtures significantly increased herbage yield, while chicory- or caraway-containing mixtures maintained similar yields to the grass-clover mixture. Standing root biomass of the grass-clover mixture was enhanced by inclusion of caraway and plantain, with that of plantain further enhanced by fertilisation. The highest methane energy output was achieved in plantain-containing grass-clover mixtures. All unfertilised mixtures achieved the 60% reduction in GHG emissions compared to fossil fuel, whereas all fertilised mixtures did not meet the 60% reduction target. These findings suggest that including competitive forbs such as plantain in grass-clover mixtures enhances productivity, supporting low-carbon footprint bioenergy production.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Crop combinations and interactions
Research affiliation: Denmark > Organic RDD 2 > MultiPlant
Deposited By: Eriksen, Professor Jørgen
ID Code:31785
Deposited On:14 Aug 2017 11:22
Last Modified:14 Aug 2017 11:22
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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