Switchgrass
 
 
 
Switchgreen Frequently asked Questions
  • When do we plant switchgrass?

Being a warm season grass, Switchgrass should be planted when the soil warms and there is sufficient moisture for seed germination (May 15-June 15).

  • What variety of switchgrass do we plant?

Hendrick Seeds is supplying 5 varieties, all recommended for Eastern Ontario growing conditions. Namely; Cave-in-Rock, Pathfinder, Carthage, Shawnee and Forestburg.
A mix of two varieties may be advantageous.

  • Can we use  no-till practices for seeding?

Yes. No till is an excellent method for establishment, as the seed needs to be placed into a firm seed bed.

  • What soil type is required?

Switchgrass does well on all soil types.

  • What about drainage?

Switchgrass is a little harder to establish where water lays for extended periods. Once established wet conditions do not affect the growth.
As long as the field is dry enough for cutting in late fall and  baling equipment by early June, there will be no problem.

  • Does switchgrass require fertilizer in the establishment year?

No. Fertilizer will not aid the in establishment of the crop but may promote weed growth.

  • What about fertilizer in subsequent years after establishment?

50 to 60 lb. of nitrogen is all the fertilizer required in the years after establishment. This should be applied after the grass is growing well (first weeks of July).
Scott Banks,  O.M.A.F.R.A Emerging Crop Specialist,. is doing some field trials starting in 2008 to determine the optimum Nitrogen rates.
Phosphorus and potash are not required as Switchgrass does not utilize these nutrients.

  • When do we harvest?

Switchgrass will not be harvested in the establishment year.
In the second and subsequent years the crop will be cut after dormancy (end October, first week of November), and left in the windrow. This will be baled in the spring as field conditions and weather dictate.
Hendrick’s were able to bale April 17, 2009 with moisture levels well below 10%.

  • What yeilds can be expected?

The first year after establishment the expected yield will be about half of the full potential yield. Again, Hendrick’s harvested 120 large square bales from 16 acres.

 

  • Where can we market the switchgrass?

SwitchGreen Inc. is offering purchase agreements for switchgrass delivered to their processing location.

  • What returns can we expect?

For switchgrass harvested in the spring of 2010 the current offering is $100.00/mt.
This price is based on the price of wood pellets, and is subject to change.
Price updates will be posted on this website.

 

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