CFAES Give Today
News Releases Archive (Prior to 2011)

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


'Power Crops': Learn about Bioenergy Farming at July 28 Field Day in Piketon

July 21, 2011
PIKETON, Ohio -- Giant miscanthus and hybrid willow could soon be growing across southern Ohio and other regions to produce fuel and energy. These are two of the "power crops" Ohio State University experts will be talking about and demonstrating at this year’s Soil, Water and Bioenergy Field Day, to be held Thursday, July 28, at the OSU South Centers at Piketon.

Free and open to the public, the event runs from 5:45-9 p.m. It is sponsored by OSU Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), the Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), and Mendel Biotechnology.

To register, contact Mary Sibole at 740-947-5353 or Attendees should meet at Room 160 of the Endeavor Center, 1864 Shyville Road, Piketon, Ohio.

The program starts with several presentations, including:

  • Overview of energy crops research, Rafiq Islam, OSU South Centers at Piketon.
  • Information about SWCD programs, Kevin Yost, Pike SWCD.
  • Next-generation energy crops, Damian Allen, Mendel Biotechnology.

After dinner and refreshments (compliments of Mendel Biotechnology and Pike SWCD), there will be a wagon tour and field research talks, including:

  • Miscanthus bioenergy research, Allen.
  • Warm-season bioenergy grass, Abbe Copple, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Yogi Raut, OSU South Centers at Piketon.
  • Bioenergy and sewage sludge, Islam.
  • New-generation miscanthus, Allen.

Last year, OSU South Centers at Piketon researchers began a five-year trial to study the feasibility of growing giant miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus) across southern Ohio, to be used for combustion and conversion to ethanol. A perennial warm-season grass from Asia, giant miscanthus is garnering attention across the Midwest because of its high biomass output and its adaptability to many different soil types.

Ohio State researchers also have their eyes on giant miscanthus because the plant is considered more productive than other biofuel crops, such as switchgrass. And once established, this grass has a lengthy stand life -- as much as 15 years, and since it’s a perennial there’s no need to re-plant each year.

"Miscanthus production is not intended to compete with established field crops like corn and soybeans," said Maurus Brown, an OSU South Centers bioenergy and specialty crop specialist. "There are plenty of opportunities to grow the crop on marginal land, land enrolled in conservation programs, and land not suited for corn or soybean production."

OSU South Centers at Piketon, OSU Extension and OARDC are part of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.


Mauricio Espinoza