Where can switchgrass production be more profitable than corn and soybean? An integrated subfield assessment in Iowa, USA

dc.contributor.author Heaton, Emily
dc.contributor.author Brandes, Elke
dc.contributor.author Plastina, Alejandro
dc.contributor.author Heaton, Emily
dc.contributor.author Plastina, Alejandro
dc.contributor.department Economics
dc.contributor.department Agronomy
dc.contributor.department Sustainable Agriculture
dc.date 2018-05-16T14:35:40.000
dc.date.accessioned 2020-06-29T23:05:29Z
dc.date.available 2020-06-29T23:05:29Z
dc.date.copyright Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2018
dc.date.issued 2018-05-03
dc.description.abstract <p>Perennial bioenergy crops are considered an important feedstock for a growing bioeconomy. However, in the USA, production of biofuel from these dedicated, nonfood crops is lagging behind federal mandates and markets have yet to develop. Most studies on the economic potential of perennial biofuel crops have concluded that even high-yielding bioenergy grasses are unprofitable compared to corn/soybeans, the prevailing crops in the United States Corn Belt. However, they did not account for opportunities precision agriculture presents to integrate perennials into agronomically and economically underperforming parts of corn/soybean fields. Using publicly available subfield data and market projections, we identified an upper bound to the areas in Iowa, United States, where the conversion from corn/soybean cropland to an herbaceous bioenergy crop, switchgrass, could be economically viable under different price, land tenancy, and yield scenarios. Assuming owned land, medium crop prices, and a biomass price of US$ 55 Mg-1, we showed that 4.3% of corn/soybean cropland could break even when converted to switchgrass yielding up to 10.08 Mg ha-1. The annualized change in net present value on each converted subfield patch ranged from just above US$ 0 ha-1 to 692 ha-1. In the three counties of highest economic opportunity, total annualized producer benefits from converting corn/soybean to switchgrass summed to US$ 2.6 million, 3.4 million, and 7.6 million, respectively. This is the first study to quantify an upper bound to the potential private economic benefits from targeted conversion of unfavorable corn/soybean cropland to switchgrass, leaving arable land already under perennial cover unchanged. Broadly, we conclude that areas with high within-field yield variation provide highest economic opportunities for switchgrass conversion. Our results are relevant for policy design intended to improve the sustainability of agricultural production. While focused on Iowa, this approach is applicable to other intensively farmed regions globally with similar data availability.</p>
dc.description.comments <p>This article is published as Brandes, Elke, Alejandro Plastina, and Emily A. Heaton. "Where can switchgrass production be more profitable than corn and soybean? An integrated subfield assessment in Iowa, USA." <em>GCB Bioenergy </em>(2018). DOI: <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcbb.12516" target="_blank">10.1111/gcbb.12516</a>. Posted with permission.</p>
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.identifier archive/lib.dr.iastate.edu/agron_pubs/469/
dc.identifier.articleid 1518
dc.identifier.contextkey 12109166
dc.identifier.s3bucket isulib-bepress-aws-west
dc.identifier.submissionpath agron_pubs/469
dc.identifier.uri https://dr.lib.iastate.edu/handle/20.500.12876/4830
dc.language.iso en
dc.source.bitstream archive/lib.dr.iastate.edu/agron_pubs/469/2018_Heaton_SwitchgrassProduction.pdf|||Sat Jan 15 00:24:13 UTC 2022
dc.source.uri 10.1111/gcbb.12516
dc.subject.disciplines Agricultural Economics
dc.subject.disciplines Agronomy and Crop Sciences
dc.subject.disciplines Plant Sciences
dc.subject.keywords bioenergy
dc.subject.keywords biofuel
dc.subject.keywords cellulosic
dc.subject.keywords landscape
dc.subject.keywords net present value
dc.subject.keywords partial budgets
dc.subject.keywords perennial
dc.subject.keywords precision agriculture
dc.title Where can switchgrass production be more profitable than corn and soybean? An integrated subfield assessment in Iowa, USA
dc.type article
dc.type.genre article
dspace.entity.type Publication
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