2013 Update: Focus on Perennials
Even though a large portion of the crops display field area is still "under construction" this year, due to the installation of a new pump station and related piping, our perennial bioenergy crops area is coming along nicely, and we invite you to visit to see examples of switchgrass, short rotation willow and poplar trees, and (new this year) Miscanthus giganteus.
One of the biggest new opportunities for agriculture in recent years is the growth of the bioenergy industry. This is more than just a matter of midwest corn for ethanol - a wide variety of bioenergy crops and uses are developing. As a result, farmers now have the option to grow crops for this newly developing bioenergy market. However, very little is known about the agronomic potential or best practices for growing many of these relatively uncommon crops.
Penn State's Division of Farm Services, in conjunction with Extension and the Biomass Energy Center, carries out annual crop tests of promising varieties of different bioenergy crops. This effort allows for field-scale evaluation of crops and cropping systems, as well as assessment of the potential for using these crops at the university as a bioenergy feedstock.
Visiting the Site
The perennials display is located just northwest of the Penn State campus, on Big Hollow Road near Fox Hollow Road. Take Fox Hollow Road from the stadium towards the airport, and turn left on Big Hollow Road immediately before the Interstate 99 underpass. You will see the crop displays almost immediately on the right side. Visitors are welcome, and an interpretive brochure is available at the site from June to September.