According to the team’s calculations, heating with switchgrass pellets would continue to be less expensive even if switchgrass production costs rose 200 percent and the price of fuel oil dropped 70 percent. Switchgrass field in NE South Dakota. The study, which contracted 10 farmers in Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota to commercially grow switchgrass for five years, starting in 2000 and 2001, gives a real-life look to farmers interested in growing and contracting switchgrass, according to Richard Perrin, the UNL agricultural economist who was the primary economic analyst for the study.  Lazarus, William F. 2010. Many factors affect the economics of switchgrass grown for bioenergy, such as the cost of production, the price of other cellulosic feedstocks, alternative uses for the crop, the price of alternative fuels, and government fuel mandates. It’s hard to imagine so in the current climate because even though the production costs of the two feedstocks are similar—about $1 per gallon of ethanol produced—the cost of operating cellulosic plants will be twice that of corn ethanol plants, and the construction costs for cellulosic plants to process switchgrass will be five or six times the cost of constructing corn ethanol plants in the past. Research Partners lead by Iowa State University: USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Purdue University, University of Illinois, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, University of Vermont, and University of Wisconsin. The cost of producing switchgrass with current technology varies, but a reasonable average is about $65 per ton in the Upper Midwest. 2015-41595-24254 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. At the switchgrass price of $54/ton, the shadow price of land is about $6/acre in region 18, and is almost zero in region 14A. The on-farm cost of producing switchgrass for cellulosic ethanol averages about $60 per ton, according to a new study by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln agricultural economist and others. The Upton plant is operated by an affiliate of KL Process Design Group LLC of Rapid City. 2013.  Impact of Environmental Values on Breakeven Price of Switchgrass. If we assume expected yields of 2.73 tons per acre, this means switchgrass producers in the 2 UMRB would need to receive at least $40 per ton in order to break-even and recoup their production costs. There is no revenue in the first year. Switchgrass is a source of low-quality fodder for animals, and with hay prices expected to be in the $80-per-ton range (at 15% moisture), switchgrass might be more valuable as livestock feed than as a cellulosic feedstock. If the RFS2 mandate is fully enforced, refiners might pay $150 per ton or more if corn stover (a cheaper cellulosic feedstock) is not available. However, on land that cannot consistently produce at least 60 bushels per acre or so, according to our calculations, switchgrass could be more profitable. ?Currently, there is not an exact figure available on how much it actually costs to produce ethanol from switchgrass because that industry is not really born yet.? Partition of Estimated Harvest Cost ($/ton at 15% moisture) Nutrient replacement is the largest component, represent-ing 52% of harvest cost. It is widely assumed that switchgrass for biofuel would most likely be produced on land that is marginal for row-crop production. “Switchgrass Cost of Production: Data from On-Farm Trials, 2001-2005”. Switchgrass is a 3' to 7'+ tall native perennial bunch grass and is one of our most important tall warm season grasses. switchgrass yield is assumed to be 10 tons per year, the stand life as 10 years and the transportation distan ce as 50 miles. These two prices are only used as examples. That’s strictly for illustration – as you would never likely see high-profit Iowa cropland devoted to switchgrass. There is also an ethanol plant in Upton, Wyo., which produces cellulosic ethanol from wood waste. outlines the per-ton cost of additional nitro-gen, phosphorus, and potassium. However, switchgrass bales will not be price-competitive with coal, except perhaps in areas that have renewable-fuel portfolio mandate requirements. Soil Carbon Storage by Switchgrass Grown for Bioenergy. This estimate is based on: The final production cost per ton depends on average yields. Land was marginal cropland that would have qualified for the Conservation Reserve Program.

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