Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/4/2004
Publication Date: 2/15/2005
Citation: Schmer, M.R., Mitchell, R., Vogel, K.P. 2005. Spatial variability of stand establishment and biomass production of switchgrass monocultures grown in the Northern Plains, USA. Society for Range Management Abs.305.
Technical Abstract: Stand frequency and biomass production are important measurements for determining the success of seeded grasslands. Topographic factors such as elevation, aspect, and slope impact site productivity, but information is limited concerning our ability to predict their direct impact on stand establishment and biomass production. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of topographic position, slope, and aspect on the field variability of stand establishment and biomass production of switchgrass monocultures. Switchgrass was seeded in 10 cropland fields, ranging in size from 3 to 9.5 ha, in Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota in 2000 and 2001. The fields were selected based on being representative of agricultural lands in each region, and on qualifying for the Conservation Reserve Program. Switchgrass fields were monitored for switchgrass frequency, weed frequency, visual obstruction, and biomass production each year. A total of 12 to 25 sample points were measured per field and geo-referenced using a GPS receiver. Sample points were overlaid onto digital elevation maps to determine slope, aspect, and elevation, and these features were evaluated to determine their impact on stand establishment and biomass production across a field. Integrating GPS/GIS with traditional sampling methods may increase our ability to monitor grassland establishment and productivity.