Alternative uses of warm-season forage grasses

Matt A. Sanderson, Geoffrey E. Brink, Kenneth F. Higgins, David E. Naugle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Forage crops, including warm-season grasses, are versatile, and increasingly, farmers are looking for alternative uses for traditional crops. Because of several unique characteristics, warm-season forage grasses have excellent potential for bioenergy cropping, soil conservation, waste nutrient management, water quality protection, and wildlife habitat. Sometimes these alternative uses require different management practices than those used for traditional forage crops. This chapter reviews the alternative uses and discusses management guidelines for each use. The use of warm-season grasses as an herbaceous energy crop (HEC) may provide farmers an opportunity to diversify their farming systems and produce an alternative cash crop. The economics of producing HEC depend on biomass yield, conversion efficiency, and cost of fossil fuel. Harvest management would emphasize yield and persistence but not forage quality, because traditional forage quality attributes differ from attributes of biomass feedstock quality.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWarm-Season (C4) Grasses
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9780891182375
ISBN (Print)9780891181569
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Bioenergy cropping
  • Biomass feedstock quality
  • Harvest management
  • Herbaceous energy crop
  • Soil conservation
  • Warm-season forage grasses
  • Waste nutrient management
  • Water quality protection
  • Wildlife habitat


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