Economic Efficiency of Different Agricultural Practices of “Panicum virgatum L. (switchgrass)” for Fodder Production

K. D. Giannoulis, G. Vlontzos, T. Karyotis, D. Bartzialis, N. G. Danalatos

Abstract


Switchgrass is a multipurpose perennial crop characterized by high yield (for fodder or raw material for pellet production) under low inputs conditions. This study sought to analyse the economic efficiency of different cultivating practices of switchgrass for hay or silage production. To assess the economic efficiency, three-year field experiments were established in two contrasting environments in central Greece (Palamas and Velestino) and contained two experimental factors: quantity of irrigation water (two levels: 0 and 250 mm) and applied nitrogen fertilization (four levels: 0, 80, 160 and 240 kg N ha-1). Moreover, the costs of four different harvest methods (three different types of straw-bales for hay production and silage) were taken into account. The results demonstrated that production cost is largely depended on the harvesting practice. In addition, an attractive income of 1,745 €/ha (the higher one at Palamas site) for fodder production was found. The efficiency scores follow the same tendency at both sites, verifying that there is no necessity of high levels of nitrogen fertilization in order to improve switchgrass production efficiency. These data suggest that switchgrass is attractive as a fodder crop in regions with high precipitation or in areas with a moderately shallow groundwater table and should be seriously taken into consideration for future land use systems in Greece and more generally in the Mediterranean basin.


Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/jas.v5n12p132

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Journal of Agricultural Science ISSN 1916-9752 (Print) ISSN 1916-9760 (Online)

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