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Switchgrass is a warm-season perennial grass native to North America. The plant can reach heights up to 10 feet with an extensive root system. Once established, switchgrass well-managed for biomass should have a productive life of 10-20 years. Within the stand, switchgrass is an extremely strong competitor. However, it is not considered an invasive plant. Switchgrass adapts well to a variety of soil and climatic conditions. It is most productive on moderately well to well-drained soils of medium fertility and a soil pH at 5.0 or above. The high cellulosic content of switchgrass makes it a favorable feedstock for ethanol production. It is anticipated that switchgrass can yield sufficient biomass to produce approximately 500 gallons of ethanol per acre. While the Tennessee Biofuels Initiative includes a demonstration plant to make ethanol from switchgrass, the market for switchgrass as an energy crop remains limited. Producers will likely need to be located within 30 to 50 miles of a cellulosic ethanol plant. Producing switchgrass for energy generally occurs under some form of contractual arrangement with the end-user. To reap potential benefits from using switchgrass for cellulosic ethanol production, the system of production must be profitable for farmers and energy producers, as well as cost effective for consumers.

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SP701A-5M-5/08 (Rep) R12-4110-070-019-08 08-0120

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