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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Strategies to Increase on-Farm Income Using Native Grasses in Pacific Northwest Landscapes

Authors
item Steiner, Jeffrey
item Banowetz, Gary

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 31, 2003
Publication Date: December 31, 2003
Citation: Steiner, J.J., Banowetz, G.M. 2003. Strategies to increase on-farm income using native grasses in pacific northwest landscapes. American Society of Agronomy Abstracts.CD-ROM, Madison, WI.

Interpretive Summary: Pacific Northwest native grass species are adapted to diverse ecosystems with many functioning as riparian components that mitigate off-site agricultural impacts during the winter. These grasses could also serve a dual-purpose as biomass feedstocks for on-farm conversion to energy products if harvested during the dry season when not serving a mitigation function. Little is known about the extent to which genotype and growing environment affect native grass quality and anti-quality factors impacting energy product conversion. Fermentation conversion suitability factors include cellulose, hemi-cellulose, lignin, and low molecular weight carbohydrates. The constituents affecting gasification conversion include carbon, total nitrogen, and silica content. Since industrial models requiring large centralized biomass conversion plants will not likely fit the region, small-scale conversion technologies will be required to utilize native grass biomass. Strategies are also needed to place conservation and crop areas in landscapes to optimize resulting income streams from crop sales, conservation program payments, and returns from bioenergy product sales. This presentation provides a framework for increasing farm income by integrating appropriate native grass germplasm components into farm enterprises for use as feedstocks for energy production based on their ecophysiological and value-added economic functions.

Technical Abstract: Pacific Northwest native grass species are adapted to diverse ecosystems with many functioning as riparian components that mitigate off-site agricultural impacts during the winter. These grasses could also serve a dual-purpose as biomass feedstocks for on-farm conversion to energy products if harvested during the dry season when not serving a mitigation function. Little is known about the extent to which genotype and growing environment affect native grass quality and anti-quality factors impacting energy product conversion. Fermentation conversion suitability factors include cellulose, hemi-cellulose, lignin, and low molecular weight carbohydrates. The constituents affecting gasification conversion include carbon, total nitrogen, and silica content. Since industrial models requiring large centralized biomass conversion plants will not likely fit the region, small-scale conversion technologies will be required to utilize native grass biomass. Strategies are also needed to place conservation and crop areas in landscapes to optimize resulting income streams from crop sales, conservation program payments, and returns from bioenergy product sales. This presentation provides a framework for increasing farm income by integrating appropriate native grass germplasm components into farm enterprises for use as feedstocks for energy production based on their ecophysiological and value-added economic functions.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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