Canadian Biomass Magazine

Features Harvesting Systems
Biomass crops benefit marginal soils

October 11, 2012, Columbia, MS – Bioenergy crops can be a good match for areas of fields that have lost productivity.

October 11, 2012  By

Crops such as switchgrass and miscanthus can help soil, improve water quality and provide alternative revenue, says Newell Kitchen, a soil scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service and adjunct professor at the University of Missouri.

“It really goes back to yield mapping,” Kitchen told . “Farmers began installing yield monitors on combines in the 1990s and with that was a much greater awareness and appreciation of productivity differences within fields.”

Kitchen has been working with switchgrass for about five years and found that even when there is a lack of topsoil it is possible to grow a healthy switchgrass crop that will produce 5 to 7 tons per acre per year. Miscanthus can produce from 7 to 15 tons per acre.

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