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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Miscanthus and Switchgrass Bioenergy Production and Soil Remediation on Marginal and Vulnerable Landscapes

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Project Number: 3622-12610-002-01
Project Type: Reimbursable

Start Date: Apr 30, 2013
End Date: Apr 29, 2015

Objective:
This research will provide knowledge about production, suitability, and sustainability of miscanthus switchgrass production on marginal and vulnerable landscapes in MO and AR. Specific objectives include: 1. Measure and model miscanthus and switchgrass production on marginal and vulnerable soil landscapes, and develop management practices for producing optimal yield; 2. Measure the soil remediation potential to marginal and vulnerable soil landscapes of miscanthus and switchgrass biofuel cropping as compared to grain cropping; and 3. Accounting for both market risk and the production risk findings from this project’s field research, determine the profitability and equivalent foreign oil displacement when using miscanthus and switchgrass bioenergy crops for marginal and vulnerable soil landscapes.

Approach:
We will contrast yield and yield risk, profitability, and soil remediation of miscanthus and switchgrass cropping systems (including switchgrass+legumes) with grain crops on marginal and vulnerable areas within the BCAP areas of MO and AR. Studies will include plot and field-scale evaluations on sites with various degrees of soil degradation. Proposed research will leverage and enhance funded and unfunded studies already initiated. Indicators of soil remediation will include soil organic C, infiltration, and soil biological activity. Funding will allow additional sampling and in-field measurement to be conducted at representative locations within BCAP fields to quantify soil and landscape properties and yield. Miscanthus establishment, early-stand growth, and first-year production will be measured and relationships developed with soil and landscape properties. This BCAP field sampling will also provide a critical baseline “picture” of soil condition that will be needed for understanding the long-term impact of switchgrass and miscanthus bioenergy crops.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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