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Published April 27, 2010, 08:47 AM

Sculpting the landscape with energy crops

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The energy crop fields of the future could render an aesthetic similar to the old Midwestern prairie, with a variety of grasses dotting the lowlands, hills and ridges.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The energy crop fields of the future could render an aesthetic similar to the old Midwestern prairie, with a variety of grasses dotting the lowlands, hills and ridges.

The concept of “sculpting the landscape” was envisioned decades ago by North Dakota plant materials specialist Erling Jacobson, who was looking to revegetate fields in the northern Great Plains as a conservation tool.

South Dakota State University plant researchers are reinvigorating the phrase by applying it to crops that can produce cellulosic ethanol.

SDSU’s Arvid Boe says to maximize production of biofuel crops on marginal lands, farmers have to put the best species in the areas where they have a high probability of succeeding.

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