Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Lincoln, Nebraska » Wheat, Sorghum and Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #308334

Research Project: Improving bioenergy and forage plants and production systems for the central U.S.

Location: Wheat, Sorghum and Forage Research

Title: Switchgrass for forage and bioenergy

Author
item Mitchell, Robert - Rob
item ANDERSON, BRUCE - University Of Nebraska
item REDFEARN, DAREN - University Of Nebraska

Submitted to: Extension Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2014
Publication Date: 8/13/2014
Citation: Mitchell, R., Anderson, B., Redfearn, D. 2014. Switchgrass for forage and bioenergy. Extension Conference Proceedings. 2014.

Interpretive Summary: Switchgrass has been used for hay, forage, and conservation purposes for decades. However, recent attention on switchgrass has focused on bioenergy. Switchgrass can provide quality forage for grazing after cool-season pastures have been utilized, but proper management is needed to maintain productive stands and quality forage. On-going research in eastern Nebraska on marginally productive cropland has demonstrated that best management practices will maintain productive, profitable, and sustainable switchgrass stands for more than 15 years on marginally productive cropland. With proper management, switchgrass can be used for both forage and biomass to mitigate risk and provide multiple uses for this perennial crop.

Technical Abstract: Switchgrass is a native warm-season grass that has been used for hay, forage, and conservation purposes for decades and switchgrass research in Nebraska has been ongoing since 1936. Recently, switchgrass has been identified as a model perennial grass for bioenergy in the Great Plains and Midwest. Since 1990, research in Nebraska on marginally productive cropland has demonstrated that best management practices will maintain productive, profitable, and sustainable switchgrass stands for more than 15 years on marginally productive cropland in the eastern half of Nebraska. Additionally, switchgrass can provide quality forage for grazing after cool-season pastures have been utilized. Switchgrass must be properly managed to maintain productive stands and quality forage. Poor management will cause productivity and stand persistence to decline, and forage quality will be poor. With proper management, switchgrass can provide both forage and biomass to mitigate risk and diversify potential use.