Switchgrass: On-Farm Biomass Yields in the Northern Great Plains

Results and Discussion-Nebraska

Abnormally dry conditions existed in central and eastern Nebraska in 2000. Moisture conditions were near normal for most parts of Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota in 2001. In 2002, abnormally dry conditions existed throughout most of Nebraska, central South Dakota, and southern North Dakota. Moisture conditions were variable across the region in 2003 and in 2004, precipitation was approximately average for the region.

Two Nebraska farms were located in the southern part of the state (Douglas and Lawrence) and two were located in northern Nebraska (Crofton and Atkinson). Adequate stands were obtained at all fields except for the field at Atkinson, Nebraska which had to be replanted due to drought (Figure 1). The soil at this site is very sandy. Stands have steadily improved over time and in 2004, all fields had excellent stand frequencies of about 80%. The fields at Douglas and Lawrence produced harvestable yields the establishment year. Grassy weeds limited switchgrass yields at Crofton the establishment year. In the post establishment years of 2001 and 2002 which were dry years, biomass yields ranged from 0.5 to 3 ton/acre. In 2003 and 2004, yields ranged from 3 to 4 tons per acre on the Nebraska fields.


Figure 1. Switchgrass biomass yields and stands for four farms in Nebraska. Year 1 is 2000 for all fields except for the Atkinson field for which Year 1 is 2001.

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