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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Switchgrass - a Biomass Energy Crop for the Midwest

Authors
item Perrin, Richard - UNI OF NE
item Vogel, Kenneth
item Schmer, Marty
item Mitchell, Robert

Submitted to: North Dakota State University Cooperative Extension Bulletin
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: December 30, 2003
Publication Date: January 1, 2004
Citation: PERRIN, R., VOGEL, K.P., SCHMER, M.R., MITCHELL, R. SWITCHGRASS - A BIOMASS ENERGY CROP FOR THE MIDWEST. NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY COOPERATIVE EXTENSION BULLETIN. 2004.p16-17.

Interpretive Summary: Switchgrass, a native prairie grass, has been identified by the Department of Energy as a potential biomass energy crop. The cost of producing ethanol or other sources of energy from switchgrass is not available simply because it has not been grown previously as a commercial biomass energy crop. To examine production costs and to identify successful management techniques, we have contracted with eleven producers to grow the crop under commercial conditions. The cooperators' fields range from 15 to 23 acres each, scattered from southern Nebraska to northern North Dakota. Data from the first three years from these trials indicates that long-run total production costs of $30/t will be achievable by Great Plains producers with good establishment techniques and land that is of marginal value for row-crops. For biomass energy markets, transportation costs from farm to processing plants are likely to add another $10/t for the average producer.

Technical Abstract: Switchgrass, a native prairie grass, has been identified by the Department of Energy as a potential biomass energy crop. The cost of producing ethanol or other sources of energy from switchgrass is not available simply because it has not been grown previously as a commercial biomass energy crop. To examine production costs and to identify successful management techniques, we have contracted with eleven producers to grow the crop under commercial conditions. The cooperators' fields range from 15 to 23 acres each, scattered from southern Nebraska to northern North Dakota. Data from the first three years from these trials indicates that long-run total production costs of $30/t will be achievable by Great Plains producers with good establishment techniques and land that is of marginal value for row-crops. For biomass energy markets, transportation costs from farm to processing plants are likely to add another $10/t for the average producer.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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