Economics of Switchgrass
Brandes, E. , Plastina, A. and Heaton, E. A. (2018), Where can switchgrass production be more profitable than corn and soybean? An integrated subfield assessment in Iowa, USA. GCB Bioenergy. doi:10.1111/gcbb.12516
Most studies on the economic potential of perennial biofuel crops have concluded that even high-yielding bioenergy grasses are unprofitable compared to corn/soybeans, but did not account for opportunities precision agriculture presents to integrate perennials into underperforming parts of corn/soybean fields. This study identifies an upper bound to subfield areas in Iowa, where the conversion from corn/soybean cropland to switchgrass could be economically viable under different scenarios. The change in net present value on each converted patch ranged from US$ 0 to 280 per acre. The authors conclude that areas with high within-field yield variation provide highest economic opportunities for switchgrass conversion.