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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Reed Canary Grass for Energy in Sweden: Yields, Land-Use Patterns, and Climatic Profile

Mola-Yudego, Blas; Xu, Xiaoqian; Englund, Oskar; Dimitriou, Ioannis;

Abstract

Research Highlights: (1) Reed canary grass (RCG) is analysed in Sweden compared to willow and poplar for 2001-2020. (2) Each crop presents a different land-use and climatic profile. (3) Average yield records of RCG are similar to willow and poplar. (4) There are divergences between trial-based and commercial yields. (5) Existing land-use change patterns suggest meadow > RCG and RCG > cereal. (6) RCG land area is very sensitive to policy incentives. Background and objectives: RCG is an alternative crop for biomass-to-energy due to high yield and frost tolerance. We assess the cultivation in Sweden by using an extensive compilation of data, with emphasis on the extent of the cultivation, climatic profile, land-use patterns, and productivity. Material and methods: RCG plantations are analysed for 2001-2020. A geostatistical analysis is performed to characterize where it is cultivated and the land uses associated. Climatic, productivity, and yield profiles are compared to willow and poplar plantations from experiments and from commercial plantations. Results: The results show that the cultivation of RCG expanded after 2005, with a maximum of 800 ha in 2009, to then decrease to the current levels of about 550 ha. It is mainly grown in colder climatic areas, with lower agricultural productivity than willow and poplar. Mean yields from trials are 6 oven dry tonnes (odt) ha(-1) year(-1); commercial yields are 3.5 odt ha(-1) year(-1). RCG replaces meadow land and then is replaced by cereals when abandoned. Conclusions: RCG is an interesting alternative with similar yields (commercial and trials) as other energy crops, but its success is more sensitive to policy incentives.

Keywords

energy crops; land use; biomass; bioenergy; reed canary grass (RCG); Phalaris arundinacea L

Published in

Forests

2021, volume: 12, number: 7, article number: 897
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

University of Eastern Finland
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology
Xu, Xiaoqian
University of Eastern Finland
Englund, Oskar
Mid-Sweden University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/f12070897

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/113209