The productivity of arundo donax as an energy crop it can be estimated at about 8-10 tons of dry matter per hectare in the first year of planting, 20-25 t s.s. / ha in the second year and up to about 30-35 t. s.s. / ha from the third year onwards, when the cultivation is expected to be fully operational. However, it should be considered that often at the end of the first year the harvest is left on the field due to lack of production and only from the second year onwards the quantity of biomass becomes appreciable.
For the rest, the experiences conducted so far (in Italy especially in Veneto) show that cultivating arundo donax it does not present particular difficulties, above all because the same means and tools that the farms normally use for traditional crops can be used. Compared to the cultivation of miscanthus and panic, two other polyennial herbaceous plants suitable for providing biomass for the production of energy and biomethane, the common cane has advantages from this point of view.
The common reed arundo donax it is indeed a multi-year energy crop and belongs to the group of lignocellulosic crops. It is a grass native to the Middle East spread throughout the Mediterranean basin where it has become at home because it adapts well to warm or temperate climates. The predisposition to the production of second generation biofuels is given by the adaptability to marginal land or second crops.
A common reed feature arundo donax is its extraordinary efficiency in the relationship with water. Under normal conditions for vegetation, the production of dry matter is estimated at 2-3 grams for each liter of water, while in conditions of water stress the value reaches 6-10 grams of dry matter per liter. Another feature is that the planting takes place by cuttings, as for miscanthus, and not by sowing as for panic.
As for miscanthus, also for arundo donax harvesting in winter offers the advantage of guaranteeing the mulching of the soil, reducing evaporation phenomena and returning the minerals contained in the foliar apparatus to the soil. This is a 'restitution' because in fact the nutritional needs of the common reed are quite high in terms of minerals, especially during the period of growth and accumulation of the rhizomes in the hypogeal part. In common with miscanthus, arundo donax it also has propagation by such a not by sowing, as happens with panic.