Switchgrass is an environmentally-friendly plant that provides cover for wildlife, forage production, and erosion control, and can absorb pesticide residue from the soil. Baled switchgrass can be a cost-effective alternative to cordwood or propane for heat production on farms or supplement coal in municipal power plants to reduce GHG. NIFA-funded research at University of Missouri’s Bradford Research Farm shows that baled switchgrass has about the same British thermal unit output and burn duration as cordwood, per equal weight but with significantly less ash residue and carbon emissions. Switchgrass has an advantage over other alternative crops because it is a perennial that also returns nutrients back into the soil and can produce 25 tons of crop per 100 acres.
NIFA originally published this impact in the NIFA 2016 Annual Report. Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.