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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Integration of switchgrass biomass and forage on Mid-South farms
Year: 2010
Author(s): Beeler, J., Bates, G., Allen, F., Tyler, D., Keyser, P., Waller, J.
Source Title:
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 38
Original Publication:  
Abstract: Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a warm season perennial grass native to the United States that has been shown to be an acceptable forage. Currently switchgrass is being investigated as a biofuel crop. The objective of this research is to determine if a one-time forage harvest is possible at either the vegetative or the boot stage without significantly reducing the yield of a fall biomass harvest. Small plot studies were conducted for one year in Milan, TN and three years in Knoxville, TN on Alamo switchgrass. A randomized complete block design was employed. Harvest treatments consisted of either a vegetative (May) or boot stage (June) forage harvest, each followed by a November biomass harvest, or a single November biomass harvest. A fertilization treatment consisted of either 30 or 60 lb of N at green-up. The plots harvested for forage received either 0, 30, or 60 lb of N/acre after the early harvest. In 2009, the single harvest treatment yielded 8.8 tons of biomass per acre, while the biomass from the two cut systems produced an average of 8.9 tons per acre with additional average 1.2 tons per acre harvested in May or 3.0 tons per acre harvested in June. This initial data indicates that it is possible to conduct a single harvest of switchgrass for forage without significantly impacting the yield of a fall biomass harvest in a mature stand of at least 3 years old.
Publisher: Proceedings of the Seventh Eastern Native Grass Symposium. Knoxville, TN, October 5-8, 2010
Editor(s): C. Harper