U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



Published by USDA-ARS.


Switchgrass has received much study for biomass feedstock production and conversion through research funded by the US-DOE and USDA during the past two decades. We have an improved understanding of the adaptation of existing cultivars and new cultivars with yield and adaptation improvements are now appearing. We also have a good understanding of the agronomics of switchgrass production, mainly from its use as a forage crop. There remain several constraints to switchgrass use in bioenergy cropping systems, including reliable establishment methods to obtain productive stands in the first year, targeted fertilization and nutrient management techniques to efficiently use nitrogen fertilizer, and highly efficient methods to convert biomass to ethanol and other products. Current plant science research on the genetics, breeding, and molecular biology of switchgrass will result in switchgrass plants with improved yield, greater establishment ability, and altered cell-wall properties for more efficient conversion. To realize the potential of these improved populations, teams of scientists, extension staff, and producer-cooperators in key agro-ecoregions are critically needed to develop profitable management practices for the production of biomass feedstocks appropriate to those agro-ecoregions.