Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Lincoln, Nebraska » Agroecosystem Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #397431

Research Project: Evaluating Management Strategies to Increase Agroecosystem Productivity, Resilience, and Viability

Location: Agroecosystem Management Research

Title: Comparing corn and switchgrass as a bioenergy crop for twenty-five growing seasons—lessons learned and future prospects.

item Schmer, Marty
item Ramirez Ii, Salvador
item Jin, Virginia
item Mitchell, Robert - Rob
item Stewart, Catherine
item Follett, Ronald
item Varvel, Gary

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/21/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: One way to achieve a global, low-carbon economy is to increase the use of biobased energy. Significant advancements have been made in bioenergy research over the last three decades but there is still uncertainty about the scalability of advanced bio-feedstocks. Here we present results from one of the oldest, bioenergy-specific field experiments in North America and look at future research needs. A long-term continuous no-tillage corn (Zea mays L.) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) field trial under differing harvest strategies and nitrogen (N) fertilizer rates was established in 1998 in eastern Nebraska. The original objective was to compare soil carbon and nitrogen changes between switchgrass and corn grown on marginal cropland. The study has been instrumental in demonstrating soil carbon changes under different management practices. In addition, the study has been influential in understanding harvest strategies on maintaining switchgrass yield stability, grain yield loss from stover removal under drought conditions, long-term weed encroachment by N and harvest treatment, greenhouse gas flux emissions, water use, and life-cycle assessments. This study has been a catalyst for other bioenergy experiments and projects that have also led to significant advancements to our understanding of growing and managing biobased feedstocks.