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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lincoln, Nebraska » Wheat, Sorghum and Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #323695

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

Location: Wheat, Sorghum and Forage Research

Title: Switchgrass production tool

Author
item HART, CHAD - Iowa State University
item Mitchell, Robert - Rob
item JACOBS, KERI - Iowa State University

Submitted to: Iowa Cooperative Extension Publication
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2015
Publication Date: 12/15/2015
Citation: Jacobs, K., R. Mitchell, C. Hart. 2015. To grow or not to grow: A tool for comparing returns to switchgrass for bioenergy with annual crops and CRP. CenUSA Bioenergy Extension Fact Sheet. Available: http://www.cenusa.iastate.edu/switchgrass-production-tool.

Interpretive Summary: Changing a farm production system from annual crops to perennial grasses for bioenergy is a major decision that has long-term land use implications. Perennial grasses like switchgrass must be harvested each year for 5 to 10 years to be economically feasible. This decision aid gives farmers the ability to economically compare how well switchgrass will perform compared to current crop production systems. This decision aid can help farmers make the difficult decision to grow switchgrass for bioenergy. The yield estimates, returns, and costs provided are based on the best currently-available information for growing switchgrass.

Technical Abstract: The decision to grow perennial grasses for bioenergy has long-term land use implications. Perennial grasses like switchgrass must be harvested annually for 5 to 10 years to be economically feasible. Typically, the decision comes down to which production system has the greatest economic benefit. Producers need a tool to compare the potential economic return of switchgrass in relation to other crop production systems. This decision tool is intended to be a guide for producers considering switchgrass for biomass. The production estimates, returns, and costs provided are based on the best available information for switchgrass production. When evaluating switchgrass as a production alternative, producers should consider their specific field characteristics and productive capabilities and adjust, as necessary, the default values supplied.