The GLBRC Biofuel Cropping System Experiment (BCSE) was established in 2008 to examine the performance of potential bioenergy crop production systems, including assessments of crop yield and quality, microbial-plant interactions, biogeochemical responses, greenhouse gas fluxes, water needs, nutrient leaching to groundwater, and biodiversity responses. Ultimate goals are to model the production efficiencies of different bioenergy crops.
The BCSE was established as a randomized complete block design that included 5 blocks of 8 cropping systems, each in 30 x 40 m plots. Cropping systems originally included continuous no-till corn (G1), a corn-soybean-canola rotation (with every entry point represented every year: G2, G3, G4), switchgrass (G5, Panicum virgatum variety Cave-in-rock), miscanthus (G6, Miscanthus x giganteus), poplar (G8, “NM-6”, Populus nigra x Populus maximowiczii), native grasses (a mix of 4 species; G7), early successional vegetation (G9), and restored prairie (G10). Subplots within treatment plots provide a means for comparing alternative agronomic practices such as stover removal and fertilization. See the plot map for subplot management.
Beginning in 2012 the corn-soybean-canola cropping system was discontinued and 2 new treatments were initiated: a continuous corn + cover crop system (G2) and a corn-soybean rotation+ cover crop (with each entry point represented every year: G3 and G4).
Beginning in 2018 the cover crop systems (G2, G3, G4) were discontinued and a new no-till sorghum system was established (G2). Treatments G3 and G4 were then managed as fallow cover crops harvested for forage.
An identical experiment was established in 2008 at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station (ARL) in Wisconsin and was retired at the end of the 2017 growing season.
- GLBRC Sustainability Research Data Catalog (Search under GLBRC Biofuel Cropping System Experiment)
- Perennial seed species and seeding rates
Major changes in management of treatments:
2018 Treatment G2 replaced with Sorghum with an unfertilized subplot; Treatments G3 and G4 retired and replaced with fallow cover crop; and Treatment G8 left as fallow after winter-time (2017-2018) harvest of poplar trees.
2017 BCSE at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station (ARL) in Wisconsin was retired after harvest.
2013 Treatment with herbicide on 1/3 of the stover non-removal subplot control in G2-G4 begins, with the first yields taken in 2014.
2012 The corn-soybean-canola systems (G2-G4; 2008-2011) were replaced with a continuous corn + cover crop system (G2) and corn-soybean + cover crop system with two entry points (G3, G4).