Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/30/2006
Publication Date: 11/13/2006
Citation: Schmer, M.R., Vogel, K.P., Mitchell, R., Perrin, R.K. 2006. Switchgrass management effects on feedstock costs in the northern great plains. In Annual Meeting Abstracts[CD-ROM]. ASA, CSSA, SSA. Madison, WI.
Technical Abstract: Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a potential bioenergy feedstock in the United States. Switchgrass was managed as a biomass energy crop on 10 farms in Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota to evaluate economic costs of establishing and producing switchgrass at the field-scale. The fields were grown for five years from 2000 to 2005. The objective of this study was to compare management practices and location affects on feedstock costs. Fields that were harvested the establishment year had overall feedstock costs 29% less than fields with no establishment year harvest. Fields that applied a pre-emergent herbicide that controlled annual, grass weeds in the establishment year had 36% less feedstock costs than fields with no herbicide treatment or only a broadleaf herbicide treatment. Farmer cooperators that had previous experience with switchgrass had 34% lower feedstock costs than farmer cooperators with no experience in switchgrass production. Fields east of -98.5° Longitude were 31% lower in feedstock costs than fields west of -98.5° Longitude. Pre-establishment year crops that lessen the need for tillage, improving seed quality, proper herbicide applications, fertilizer rates based on production and soil tests, bioenergy specific cultivars, and proper harvesting dates would further lower feedstock costs. Switchgrass production in western portions of the Great Plains can have more variable growing season precipitation that can cause higher feedstock costs. Farmer training and education on proper switchgrass management will be critical to maximize profitability.