THE AIM OF THE RESEARCH IS TO TEST THE PRODUCTIVITY OF TOPINAMBOUR (JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE) IN THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ITALIAN REGIONS DEPENDING OF DIFFERENT VARIETIES ADOPTED AND LOCAL CLIMATIC AND PEDOLOGICAL CONDITIONS, IN DRY AND IRRIGATED CULTIVATION.
Crops designed to produce biomass for transforming into ethanol, have been studied in Italy and abroad. A research methodology has been developed which is able to give indications about the level of convenience of 2 energy crops (Sweet Sorghum and Topinambour) and which can be applied to different Italian agricultural realities in order to verify the existence of favourable conditions for cultivation. In addition it assesses the level of subrention necessary to encourage the cultivation of alternative crops. The methodology is based on the consideration that the farmer adopts an alternative crop when it has a margin higher than that of crop that traditionally he cultivates. Subventions are strongly influenced by gasoline price since this determines ethanol value. The higher the gasoline price, the more the value of ethanol, and the more convenient the energy crops.
Sweet sorghum exhibited lower convenience compared with Topinambour mainly due to missed utilization of coproducts and problems of transportation. The overall energy crops didn't give encouraging results, however this was partically due to low gasoline premium prices and the dollar to lira exchange rate. Modifications of these factors would influence positively the whole field of energy production from the crops considered.
IN ORDER TO CARRY OUT THE RESEARCH PROJECT, TECNAGRO HAS PAID ATTENTION IN FINDING SEED-TUBERS FROM DIFFERENT VARIETIES OF TOPINAMBOUR.
FOR THE FIRST YEAR IT HAS BEEN DECIDED TO CONCENTRATE THE EFFORTS ON 3 VARIETIES; TWO OF THEM ARE FRENCH OF REMARKABLE VALUE (VIOLET DE RENNES AND BLANC PRECOSSE) SELECTED BY INRA IN RENNES; THE OTHER IS A "LOCAL" ONE, GROWN IN PIEMONTE MOSTLY FOR HUMAN FEEDING.
THE TEST TOOK PLACE IN 7 FARMS, 4 OF WHICH IN PUGLIA AND ONE EACH IN CAMPANIA, MOLISE, BASILICATA.
THE TOTAL AREA COVERED HAS BEEN APPROX. 2,2 HA.
ALL THE TESTS TOOK PLACE IN FARMS, IN REAL AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS, EMPLOYING THE EXISTING MACHINES AND MANPOWER.
THE TEST PROGRAM WAS CARRIED OUT ON AN EXPERIMENTATION BASIS; BY CONTRAST THE WORK HAS BEEN CARRIED OUT FOLLOWING FARM PROCEDURES.
IT ALLOWS TO BETTER VERIFY THE POSSIBILITY OF INCLUDING THIS CROP IN THE FARM SYSTEM.
THE RESULTS OBTAINED ARE POSITIVE AS CONCERNS VIOLET OF RENNES: IN SEVERAL TESTS A PRODUCTION OF 68-72 T/HA HAS BEEN OBTAINED. THE BLANC PRECOSSE RANGED BETWEEN 40 AND 50 T; ON THE CONTRARY THE PRODUCTION OF THE "LOCAL" VARIETY FROM PIEMONTE WAS UNREMARKABLE.