AgCenter studying switchgrass as biofuel

Associated Press Modified: November 4, 2012 at 10:00 am •  Published: November 4, 2012
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ARCHIBALD, La. (AP) — An LSU AgCenter forestry researcher is looking at a fast-growing plant called switchgrass as a potential biofuel feedstock.

Switchgrass needs little fertilizer and can tolerate drought and floods, Michael Blazier said — and on land left open because soybeans did poorly there, one application of fertilizer yielded up to 10 tons of grass per acre.

"Switchgrass is native to nearly the entirety of North America. In Louisiana, it is native to the Cajun prairie ecosystem," Blazier said.

He's also been growing switchgrass among pine trees at the LSU AgCenter Hill Farm Research Station near Homer in Claiborne Parish, to see whether landowners could earn money from switchgrass before trees are ready for lumbering.

Near Archibald in Richland Parish, he and an Arkansas forest ecologist are studying switchgrass grown together with eastern cottonwood trees, which also are being studied as possible biofuel feedback.

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