Dual-Cropping to Improve the Economic Feasibility of Switchgrass Establishment

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) has been identified as a potential biomass crop for biofuel production. Switchgrass, a native, warm-season perennial, needs approximately two years in Wisconsin in order to be sufficiently established to permit harvesting (Vogel et al. 2002), however may not reach full yield potential until the third year. As the demand grows for switchgrass production, more producers may become interested in establishing switchgrass on their farm, however may be hesitant to do so, due to the lack of income generation during the establishment period. In order for producers to be able to grow switchgrass, economically feasible systems for the establishment period need to be designed. The purpose of this study is to look at several dual cropping options with small grains that will allow farmers to realize economic gains during the establishment phase of switchgrass, but also without reducing early switchgrass productivity.

Authors: Rachael Cox, Josh Posner, Janet Hedtcke, and Gregg Sanford