Multiple Uses for Switchgrass Stands Following Biomass Production

Grants and Contracts Details


Dr. Smith and Tom Keene will work with producers on 8 farms and at two University research locations where switchgrass was planted for biomass production from 2007 to 2011. These stands were part of the collaborative project between the Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council, the KY Agricultural Development Board, the University of Kentucky, East KY Power Cooperative, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service. Many farmers have been relunctant to plant switchgrass for biomass production because of a concern about the value of the stand following biomass production or if they decide to “opt out” of a biomass contract due to low payments from the buyer (eg. – power company). The objective of this project is to determine the potential on-farm environment and economic benefits of long term stands of switchgrass after biomass production. This research project will measure the wildlife habitat potential of 3 to 7 year old switchgrass stands using the traditional Robel pole method and the novel track tube technique developed by UK graduate student Laura Schwer. Potential improvements in soil conservation, soil health, and carbon sequestration will be determined by comparing the mature switchgrass stands to adjacent hay and pastures fields. The soil measurements will include water runoff/infiltration, soil microbial activity, and soil carbon sequestration. These switchgrass stands will also be harvested for hay and baleage to the determine the forage quality, potential animal gain, and economic benefit to farmers when feeding this material. This project will run from the summer of 2012 through the summer of 2014.
Effective start/end date9/1/1212/31/15


  • Natural Resources Conservation Service: $75,000.00


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