A new crop management guide is available for producers interested in learning more about growing switchgrass as a non-food, low-carbon source for biofuels and biopower.
Published by Blade Energy Crops, a seed brand of Ceres, Inc., the guide features the latest thinking among agronomists for this multi-year crop, including criteria for seed variety selection, field preparation and planting rates, as well as weed control and biomass harvest suggestions, among other topics.
Switchgrass product manager Cory Christensen, Ph.D. says the free reference guide draws on the most recent data and experiences from the company's energy crop trialing network — the largest in the U.S. He noted that the Blade guide should be a useful resource for both experienced switchgrass producers and growers considering this perennial energy crop for the first time.
"This guide is intended to help growers get ahead of the curve as the market for biomass develops," said Christensen. Biomass, which is all the above-ground plant material, can be processed into biofuels or burned to produce electricity. Christensen noted that "agronomic recommendations are evolving each season as new switchgrass seed varieties become available and we get more data from the field and from biorefineries and biopower companies. So, it's important to stay on top of the latest findings.
Titled "Planting and Managing Switchgrass as a Dedicated Energy Crop 2009," the 20-page guide may be downloaded at the Blade brand website at www.BladeEnergy.com.