Reed canary grass cultivation’s energy efficiency and fuel quality
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The article discusses the energy yield and yield capacity of reed canary grass stands in semi-natural and cultivated meadows with edaphic conditions most favourable for species growing on fertile soil. Energy grass production yields have been assessed with respect to the issues of precipitation, sunshine, and frozen ground. In Estonia, a dried matter level of 4.2– 8.5 t ha-1 of reed canary grass may produce 72.91–147.56 GJ ha-1 gross energy by using 1.48– 3.06 GJ ha-1 input energy, which consequently nets 71.44–1,445.00 GJ ha-1 . The above finding indicates that 1 MJ input energy enables the production of 2.8 kg dry matter. The efficiency of energy production (ratio of energy returned on energy invested) depends on the amount of input energy used to grow and harvest reed canary grass. The input energy payback ratio for the given case was 48.2–49.4, which was higher than cases with lower and higher dry matter yield levels. Precipitation during the second part of the Estonian summer, heavy winter snow cover and a simultaneous frequent lack of frozen ground reduce the productivity of reed canary grass as energy hay because the winter or early spring harvest cannot be used.