Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Publiched in A. Monti (ed.), Switchgrass, Green Energy and Technology, DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4471-2903-5_4, chpater 4, p. 87-112. Published by Springer-Verlag, London, 2012. U.S. government publication.


Management of switchgrass for bioenergy and forage share some commonalities, of particular interest in bioenergy crop production is: (1) rapid establishment of switchgrass to generate harvestable biomass in the seeding year, (2) highly efficient management of soil and fertilizer N to minimize external energy inputs, and (3) harvest management to maximize yields of lignocellulose. Bioenergy cropping may entail management for multiple services in addition to biomass yield including soil C sequestration, wildlife habitat, landscape management, and water quality protection. Management is a critical factor especially as land classified as marginal or idle land will be emphasized for bioenergy production to reduce conflicts with food production. Marginal land may also be more risky. To date, there has been no long-term commercial production of switchgrass on a large scale and there is little in the way of hands-on, practical farm experience with switchgrass managed as a bioenergy crop. In this chapter, we lay out the key best management practices for switchgrass as a bioenergy crop including establishment, soil fertility, and pest management.