NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Mississippi State University professor says this winter is an excellent test for a sugarcane hybrid developed in Louisiana as a potential biofuel crop.

Starkville is among six spots where hybrids dubbed "energycane" are being tested to see how much cold they can take.

Brian Baldwin is keeping an eye on 300 plants from 74 strains developed at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Station in Houma. He says the last two winters were so warm that all 300 grew back, but he expects to see big differences this spring.

The National Weather Service says this winter is shaping up to be Starkville's 13th coldest since 1891.

Researchers in Louisiana and other states also are testing such hybrids as part of a $17.3 million U.S. Department of Energy project.