Author(s): Nelson RG, Ascough JC nd, Langemeier MR
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Abstract The primary objectives of this research were to determine SWAT model predicted reductions in four water quality indicators (sediment yield, surface runoff, nitrate nitrogen (NO(3)-N) in surface runoff, and edge-of-field erosion) associated with producing switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) on cropland in the Delaware basin in northeast Kansas, and evaluate switchgrass break-even prices. The magnitude of potential switchgrass water quality payments based on using switchgrass as an alternative energy source was also estimated. SWAT model simulations showed that between 527,000 and 1.27 million metric tons (Mg) of switchgrass could be produced annually across the basin depending upon nitrogen (N) fertilizer application levels (0-224 kg N ha(-1)). The predicted reductions in sediment yield, surface runoff, NO(3)-N in surface runoff, and edge-of-field erosion as a result of switchgrass plantings were 99, 55, 34, and 98\%, respectively. The average annual cost per hectare for switchgrass ranged from about 190 US dollars with no N applied to around 345 US dollars at 224 kg N ha(-1) applied. Edge-of-field break-even price per Mg ranged from around 41 US dollars with no N applied to slightly less than 25 US dollars at 224 kg N ha(-1) applied. A majority of the switchgrass produced had an edge-of-field break-even price of 30 Mg(-1) US dollars or less. Savings of at least 50\% in each of the four water quality indicators could be attained for an edge-of-field break-even price of 22-27.49 US dollars Mg(-1).
This article was published in J Environ Manage
and referenced in Hydrology: Current Research