BioEnergy Research

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 351-357

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Economics of Alternative Fertilizer Supply Systems for Switchgrass Produced in Phosphorus-Deficient Soils for Bioenergy Feedstock

  • Mohua HaqueAffiliated withThe Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc.
  • , Jon T. BiermacherAffiliated withThe Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc. Email author 
  • , Maru K. KeringAffiliated withVirginia State University
  • , John A. GuretzkyAffiliated withUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln


Limited information is available explaining the economics of supplying N and P fertilizers on established stands of switchgrass growing in phosphorus-deficient soils. The objective of this study was to determine the most economical fertilizer supply system for producing feedstock in phosphorus-deficient soil in the southern Great Plains. Data collected from field trials conducted at two locations in south-central Oklahoma along with prices quoted by local input suppliers and custom service providers and assumptions about the farm-gate price of feedstock were used to estimate expected values for production costs, gross revenue and net return to owner's labor, management, and overhead for eight fertilizer supply systems. The systems included a zero fertilizer check system (0/0), three P systems (0/34, 0/67, and 0/101), one N system (135/0), and three N and P systems (135/34, 135/67, and 135/101). Random-effects mixed ANOVA models were used to determine the effects of fertilizer system on the values of total cost and net return. For the base-case price scenario (feedstock, N and P prices of $110 Mg−1 and $1.28 and 1.17 kg−1, respectively), the 135/0 system was the most profitable system, producing 10.2 Mg of feedstock and $263 of net return per hectare. Economic results were most sensitive to the prices of feedstock, N and P. Net return was negative for all eight systems for the scenario where the farm-gate price of feedstock was relatively low ($55 Mg−1) and prices for N and P were relatively high ($2.20 kg−1).


Bioenergy feedstock Economics Nitrogen Phosphorus Phosphorus-deficient soils Switchgrass