Monday, March 20, 2006

Scientists Study Feasibility of Switchgrass for Energy Production

Two switchgrass plants per square foot the first year ensures a successful bioenergy crop harvest in subsequent years.

That's the threshold level for success established by an economic study by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and cooperators on 10 northern Plains farms in Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.

Soil scientist Mark Liebig, at the ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory in Mandan, N.D., worked on the study led by Ken Vogel, a geneticist at the ARS Grain, Forage and Bioenergy Research Unit at Lincoln, Neb.

As an expert in breeding and management of new, higher-yielding varieties of switchgrasses best suited to ethanol conversion, Vogel collaborates with many ARS labs in various regions of the country.Liebig's contribution to the study was to quantify another potential switchgrass benefit: soil carbon storage.

The study is a cooperative project with University of Nebraska economist Richard Perrin.Switchgrass is a native prairie grass long used for conservation plantings and cattle feed in the United States.

Interest in switchgrass ethanol has intensified recently as the federal government gains confidence in its potential as a bioenergy crop because of its wide adaptability and high yields on marginal lands.

The northern Plains region was chosen first because the economics seemed most favorable there. Farmers can expect switchgrass yields to be high enough there to produce 100 to 400 gallons of ethanol per acre with current varieties.Results from the main part of the study--the economics of growing switchgrass for bioenergy--are promising.

Those results will be issued in May.Switchgrass can be converted to ethanol just as cornstalks can. It also can be burned to produce electricity. Growing switchgrass for ethanol could bring new industries to rural areas.As a perennial plant, switchgrass has the advantage of not needing annual planting and tillage.

Skipping these can save soil and energy. It can also reduce sediment and other pollutant losses to waterways.The study's seedling threshold results are reported in the January issue of Crop Science magazine.

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AGRI-INFO/MARCH 20, 2006


TITLE: SCIENTISTS STUDY FEASIBILITY OF SWITCHGRASS FOR ENERGY PRODUCTION

ALAM BA NINYO NA PINAG-AARALANG MABUTI NG MGA EKSPERTO ANG POSIBILIDAD NA MAGAMIT SA ENERGY PRODUCTION ANG ISANG URI NG DAMO - ANG SWITCHGRASS?

PINANGUNAHAN NI GENETICIST KEN VOGEL NG ARS GRAIN, FORAGE AND BIOENERGY RESEARCH UNIT ANG PAG-AARAL TUNGKOL DITO NA SINURING MABUTI NI SOIL SCIENTIST MARK LIEBIG NG ARS NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS RESEARCH LABORATORY.

BILANG EKSPERTO SA BREEDING AT MANAGEMENT NG BAGO, HIGHER YIELDING VARIETIES NG SWITCHGRASS NA ANGKOP SA ETHANOL CONVERSION, NAKIPAG-KOOPERASYON SI VOGEL SA MARAMING LABORATORYO NG ARS SA IBAT IBANG REHIYON NG US.

ANG NAGING KONTRIBUSYON NAMAN NI LIEBEG SA NATURANG PAG-AARAL AY ANG PAG-QUANTIFY NG ISA PANG BENEPISYO MULA SA POTENTIAL SWITCHGRASS - SOIL CARBON STORAGE.

ANG SWITCHGRASS AY ISANG KATUTUBONG URI NG DAMO NA MATAGAL NANG GINAGAMIT PARA SA CONSERVATION NG MGA TANIM AT CATTLE FEED SA AMERIKA. ANG PAGGAMIT NG SWITCHGRASS ETHANOL AY LALU PANG PINAG-IBAYO NANG MAPAGKATIWALAAN NG MGA EKSPERTO ANG POTENSIYAL NITO BILANG BIOENERGY CROP.

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