Balancing Bioenergy and Soil Productivity Returns for Sustainable Biomass Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L). Moench.] Production Academic Article uri icon


  • 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Bioenergy sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L). Moench.] is a potential dedicated energy crop that can help fulfill requirements for advancing ligno-cellulosic biofuel technology, but information balancing profitability and soil resource effects of growing this crop is limited. Using field plot data, this study objective is to quantify effects of different bioenergy sorghum management practices on soil characteristics that influence yield and ultimately the producers net return. Field studies were conducted at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Farm near College Station, TX from 2008 through 2011. A stochastic economic simulation model was developed using yields and associated soil characteristics data. Results suggested growing bioenergy sorghum may be profitable and can achieve a maximum annual net return to capital, land, and management of $1,600ha1 by applying 300kgha1 of nitrogen and returning no biomass. This net return, however, is achieved at the cost of soil carbon and nitrogen depletion. The soil nutrient pool was maintained when biomass return rates were approximately 20% of yield. This management practice, however, requires a compromise of $330 to $422ha1 in net returns compared to a 0% biomass return.

published proceedings

  • BioEnergy Research

author list (cited authors)

  • Amatya, P., Wight, J., Mjelde, J. W., & Hons, F. M.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Amatya, Prashant||Wight, Jason||Mjelde, James W||Hons, Frank M

publication date

  • December 2014