Switchgrass Management Practice Effects on Near-Surface Soil Properties in West-Central Arkansas

DOI: 10.4236/ojss.2015.53008   PDF   HTML   XML   3,453 Downloads   4,023 Views   Citations


Agronomic management practices that maximize monoculture switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) yield are generally well understood; however, little is known about corresponding effects of differing switchgrass management practices on near-surface soil properties and processes. The objective of the study was to evaluate the effects of cultivar (“Alamo” and “Cave-in-Rock”), harvest frequency (1- and 2-cuts per year), fertilizer source (poultry litter and commercial fertilizer), and irrigation management (irrigated and non-irrigated) on near-surface soil properties and surface infiltration in a Leadvale silt loam (fine-silty, siliceous, semiactive, thermic, Typic Fragiudult) after four years (2008 through 2011) of consistent management in west-central Arkansas. Irrigating switchgrass increased (P < 0.01) soil bulk density in treatment combinations where poultry litter was applied (1.40 g?cm?3) compared to non-irrigated treatment combinations (1.33 g?cm?3). Root density was greater (P = 0.031) in irrigated (2.62 kg?cm?3) than in non-irrigated (1.65 kg?cm?3) treatments when averaged over all other treatment factors. The total infiltration rate under unsaturated conditions was greater (P = 0.01) in the 1-cut (33 mm?min?1) than 2-cut (23 mm?min?1) harvest treatment combinations when averaged over all other treatment factors, while the total infiltration rate under saturated conditions did not differ among treatment combinations (P > 0.05) and averaged 0.79 mm?min?1. Results from this study indicate that management decisions to maximize switchgrass biomass production affect soil properties over relatively short periods of time, and further research is needed to develop local best management practices to maximize yield while maintaining or improving soil quality.

Share and Cite:

Jacobs, A. , Brye, K. , King, R. , Douglas, J. , Wood, L. , Purcell, L. and Looper, M. (2015) Switchgrass Management Practice Effects on Near-Surface Soil Properties in West-Central Arkansas. Open Journal of Soil Science, 5, 69-86. doi: 10.4236/ojss.2015.53008.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Energy Information Administration (EIA) (2013) How Dependent Are We on Foreign Oil?
[2] United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) (2013) Renewable Fuel Standard.
[3] Energy Information Administration (EIA) (2013) Monthly Energy Review.
[4] Parrish, D.J. and Fike, J.H. (2005) The Biology and Agronomy of Switchgrass for Biofuels. Critical Reviews in Plant Science, 24, 423-459.
[5] Tillman, D.A. (2000) Biomass Cofiring: The Technology, the Experience, the Combustion Consequences. Biomass & Bioenergy, 19, 365-384.
[6] United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS) (2012) Cattle and Beef Production Overview.
[7] Pimentel, D., Harvey, C., Resosidarmo, P., Sinclair, K., Kurz, D., McNair, M., Crist, S., Sphritz, L., Fitton, L., Saffouri, R. and Blair, R. (1995) Environmental and Economic Costs of Soil Erosion and Conservation Benefits. Science, 276, 1117-1123.
[8] McLaughlin, S.B. and Kszos, L.A. (2005) Development of Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) as a Bioenergy Feedstock in the United States. Biomass & Bioenergy, 28, 515-535.
[9] Stubbendick, J., Hatch, S.L. and Butterfield, C.H. (1998) North American Range Plants. 4th Edition, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln.
[10] Popp, M.P. (2007) Assessment of Alternative Fuel Production from Switchgrass: An Example from Arkansas. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 39, 373-380.
[11] McLaughlin, S.B., Kiniry, J.R., Taliaferro, C.M. and De La Torre Ugarte, D. (2006) Projecting Yield and Utilization Potential of Switchgrass as an Energy Crop. Advances in Agronomy, 90, 267-297.
[12] United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) (2014) Rank of States: Production of Livestock, Arkansas, 2013.
http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Arkansas/Publications /Statistical_Bulletin/Livestock_Data/arliverank.pdf
[13] Mitchell, C.C. and Donald, J.O. (1999) The Value and Use of Poultry Manures as Fertilizer. Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Circular ANR-244, Alabama A&M University, Auburn University, Auburn.
[14] Adler, P.R., Sanderson, M.A., Boateng, A.A., Weimer, P.J. and Jung, H.J.G. (2006) Biomass Yield and Biofuel Quality of Switchgrass Harvested in Fall and Spring. Agronomy Journal, 98, 1518-1525.
[15] Jacobs, A.A. and King, J.R. (2012) Using Fertilization, Irrigation, and Harvest Strategies to Maximize “Alamo” and “Cave-in-Rock” Switchgrass Biomass Yield in the Southern Ozarks.
[16] Kering, M.K., Butler, T.J., Biermacher, J.T., Mosali, J. and Guretzky, J.A. (2012) Effect of Potassium and Nitrogen Fertilizer on Switchgrass Productivity and Nutrient Removal Rates under Two Harvest Systems on a Low Potassium Soil. BioEnergy Research, 6, 329-335.
[17] Bransby, D. and Huang, P. (2014) Twenty-Year Biomass Yields of Eight Switchgrass Cultivars in Alabama. BioEnergy Research, 7, 1186-1190.
[18] Burner, D.M. (2012) Weather Summary for the Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center 2005-2012. Unpublished Data, Booneville.
[19] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (2010) Climatography of the United States, Annual and Seasonal Normals of Temperature and Precipitation 1981-2010: Booneville, Arkansas. United States Department of Commerce, National Climatic Data Center, Asheville.
[20] United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) (2003) Leadvale Soil Series Official Description. https://soilseries.sc.egov.usda.gov/OSD_Docs/L/LEADVALE.html
[21] United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) (2009) Establishing Native Warm Season Grass Mixtures Fact Sheet.
[22] Bouyoucos, G.J. (1927) The Hydrometer as a New Method for the Mechanical Analysis of Soils. Soil Science, 23, 343-353.
[23] Mehlich, A. (1984) Mehlich 3 Soil Test Extractant: A Modification of Mehlich 2 Extractant. Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis, 15, 1409-1419.
[24] Tucker, M.R. (1992) Determination of Phosphorous by Mehlich 3 Extraction. In: Donohue, S.J., Ed., Reference Soil and Media Diagnostic Procedure for the Southern Region of the United States, Southern Cooperative Series Bulletin 374, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, Blacksburg, 9-12.
[25] Yoder, R.E. (1936) A Direct Method of Aggregate Analysis of Soils and a Study of the Physical Nature of Erosion Losses. Agronomy Journal, 28, 337-351.
[26] Brye, K.R. and Riley, T.L. (2009) Soil and Plant Property Differences across a Chronosequence of Humid-Temperate Tallgrass Prairie Restorations. Soil Science, 174, 346-357.
[27] Smith, S.F., Brye, K.R., Chen, P., Gbur, E. and Korth, K. (2014) Residue and Water Management Effects on Aggregate Stability and Aggregate-Associated Carbon and Nitrogen in a Wheat-Soybean, Double-Crop System. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 78, 1378-1391.
[28] Anders, M.M., Brye, K.R., Olk, D.C. and Schmid, B.T. (2010) Rice Rotation and Tillage Effects on Soil Aggregation and Aggregate Carbon and Nitrogen Dynamics. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 76, 994-1004.
[29] Frank, A.B., Berdahl, D.J., Hanson, J.D., Liebig, M.A. and Johnson, H.A. (2004) Biomass and Carbon Partitioning in Switchgrass. Crop Science, 44, 1391-1396. http://dx.doi.org/10.2135/cropsci2004.1391
[30] Jung, J.Y., Lal, R., Jastrow, J.D. and Tyler, D.D. (2011) Nitrogenous Fertilizer Effects on Soil Structural Properties under Switchgrass. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 141, 215-220.
[31] Six, J., Bossuyt, H., Degryze, D. and Denef, K. (2004) A History of Research on the Link between (Micro)aggregates, Soil Biota, and Soil Organic Matter Dynamics. Soil & Tillage Research, 79, 7-31.
[32] Singer, M.J., Southard, R.J., Warrington, D.N. and Janitzky, P. (1992) Stability of Synthetic Sand-Clay Aggregates after Wetting and Drying Cycles. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 56, 1843-1848.
[33] Whalen, J.K. and Chang, C. (2002) Macroaggregate Characteristics in Cultivated Soils after 25 Annual Manure Applications. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 66, 1637-1647.
[34] Eda?o, M.L.S. (2009) Effects of Nutrient Sources, Harvest Frequency and Environmental Conditions in Switchgrass Production and Soil Properties. Ph.D. Dissertation, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.
[35] Bonin, C., Lai, R., Schmitz, M. and Wullschleger, S. (2012) Soil Physical and Hydrological Properties under Three Biofuel Crops in Ohio. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, 62, 595-603.
[36] Fike, J.H., Parrish, D.J., Wolf, D.D., Balasko, J.A., Green, J.T., Rasnake, M. and Reynolds, J.H. (2006) Switchgrass Production for the Upper Southeastern USA: Influence of Cultivar and Cutting Frequency on Biomass Yields. Biomass & Bioenergy, 30, 207-213. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2005.10.008

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.