A new biofuel-biomass feedstock being introduced by a Texas A&M AgriLife Researcher is a hybrid “similar to seedless watermelons, seedless grapes and other sterile triploid crops.”
The hybrid offers producer the option of growing the crop for either forage or biofuel.
Russ Jessup, a perennial grass breeder in College Station is utilizing two grass species: pearl millet, a grain crop, and Napier grass, which is a very high-biomass crop that can be crossed to make progeny that are sterile triploids in the field.
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“This is a dual-use crop with a low seed cost, high yield potential and quality perennial biomass suitable for both forage and dedicated biofuels,” he said. “So in light of current downtrends in oil prices, this crop can stand on its own as a forage crop in the interim, until that reverses.”
As a high-quality forage crop, Jessup said, it is sterile in the field but has seeded parents, unlike sugarcane that has to be planted from stocks. Read more on this new forage/biomass plant.