Biomass Production and Nutrient Removal of Energy Cane Genotypes in Northeastern Brazil
Energy cane (Saccharum spp.) is an alternative for biomass production to meet demands for high yield and fiber content feedstock for bioenergy production. However, there is limited research data and information available for this crop that was recently introduced in Brazil. The focus of this study was to evaluate the biomass production and mineral composition of energy cane genotypes to understand their productivity and define nutrient management practices according to nutrient removal. The experiment was conducted in northeastern Brazil during plant cane and first ratoon crop cycles and evaluated six energy cane and one sugarcane (cultivar most grown in the region) genotype. Depending on genotype and crop cycle, energy cane dry biomass production ranged from 43 to 63 Mg ha−1 and was greater than that of sugarcane, ranging from 25 to 51 Mg ha−1. Energy cane allocated a greater amount of dry biomass in dry leaves and tops than sugarcane. Overall, 1 Mg of fresh energy cane required 1.5 kg of N, 0.32 kg of P, 5.1 kg of K, 0.6 kg of Mg, 0.5 kg of S, 5.7 g of B, 1.4 g of Cu, 6.3 g of Mn, and 4.7 g of Zn. Macronutrient removal by some energy cane genotypes was higher than that by sugarcane due to greater biomass production. Energy cane has the potential for greater dry biomass production than sugarcane, but it also removes a larger amount of nutrients. The recommendation of an amount of nutrients needed for energy cane production is a key issue for the establishment of this crop as a raw material for bioenergy production in Brazil.