There panic cultivation (panìco) for energy purposes has the advantages of a good yield in terms of biomass, a high tolerance to drought combined with easy drying in the field and adaptability to haymaking machines. This last feature penalizes all the multi-year herbaceous energy crops a little, including miscanthus, common reed, arundo and thistle, but in the case of panic the problem is limited.
On the other hand the panic cultivation has disadvantages, mainly related to the small size and low vegetative vigor of the seeds, to the fact that a very accurate sowing bed is needed and to the attack of weeds. Another disadvantage of this crop suitable for the production of second generation biofuel is the lack of knowledge of its characteristics by farmers at the moment.
The panic, Panìcum Virgatum, is a perennial rhizomatous grass native to North America, where it is widespread. In the USA, the panic cultivation was chosen by the United States Departnerment of Energy as an example of a lignocellulosic biomass crop for energy production due to the low need for water and adaptability to marginal land (without subtraction of soil for food production) characteristics necessary for crops dedicated to production of biofuels and second generation biofuels.
Compared to other multi-year energy crops, common reed and miscanthus above all, the panic cultivation has the advantage of propagation via seed, which allows to reduce the cost of the plant. It must be said, as mentioned above, that the seeds are not very vigorous and the seedlings are fragile and grow slowly in the initial stage. Some experiments carried out in Italy, especially in the Veneto region, have not given exciting results from the point of rooting and resistance to weeds.
Also there panic cultivation, as well as the cultivation of miscanthus and other energy crops is among those suitable for the production of second generation biogas, from which biomethane can also be obtained. In light of the inter-ministerial decree that since December 2013 authorizes the use of biomethane obtained from agricultural gas in the national network, and the approval of the European Directive on alternative fuels, energy crops are preparing to become an increasingly additional source of income for farmers.