Can you feed switchgrass to livestock until a biofuel market develops for it?
Switchgrass, like a number of other warm-season grasses, can produce high-quality forage. Early season harvesting produces the highest quality. As the production season progresses, crude protein content quickly declines. If switchgrass is allowed to mature and become fibrous, forage quality will suffer drastically. Switchgrass can be grazed by beef and dairy cattle, but other forages could be more acceptable for given resource situations. Switchgrass hay is not recommended for horses. Additional details can be found in the publication, Using Switchgrass for Forage. In evaluating the economics of grazing and establishing switchgrass in anticipation of a market for biomass, the producer should feel fairly confident the biomass market may develop within a reasonable time period. Contributors: Clark Garland and Tina Johnson, University of Tennessee