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Native Perennial Bunchgrasses and Forbs for bioenergy


2021 USDA-NIFA Integrated Award


Principal Investigators and affiliations:

PI:  Dr. James Muir, Texas A&M AgriLife Research- Stephenville, TX

Co-PI:  Dr. Jorge da Silva, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station

              Dr. William Pitman, Louisiana State University AgCenter

              Dr. Montgomery Alison, Louisiana State University AgCenter

              Dr. Jamie Foster, Texas AgriLife Research- Beeville, TX

              Dr. William Smith, Tarleton State University

              Prof. Harley Naumann, University of Missouri

              Mr. Forrest Smith, Texas A&M University- Kingsville, TX

              Dr. Edward Osei, Tarleton State University

              Dr. Anthony Falk, Texas A&M University- Kingsville, TX

Funded: $342,033

Start Date: 2/01/2021

End Date: 1/31/2024


Project Goal

To determine if human-designed diverse, low-input native grasslands are sustainable and productive bioenergy feedstock sources in the southern Great Plains.



  1. Measure dry matter (DM) yields and herbage characteristics under low-input management systems of as many perennial native bunchgrass species, accessions and cultivars as we can find already growing in low-input, replicated plots within the region and initiate (plant) plots of those not currently found in monoculture plots on multiple soils and climates across Texas, Louisiana and Missouri.
  2. Compare the highest producing natives in Objective 1 to introduced (exotic) bunchgrass monocultures under comparable low-input management.
  3. Compare multiple harvests and single end-of-season harvests in Objectives 1 & 2.
  4. Measure dry matter (DM) yields and herbage characteristics of native bunchgrass multi-species mixtures.
  5. Compare the highest producing native mixtures in Objective 4 to exotics.
  6. Compare multiple harvests and single end-of-season harvests of mixtures.
  7. Compare economic viability of native and exotic bunchgrass monocultures and mixtures for cellulosic bioenergy feedstock production, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) ecosystems services, wildlife management and livestock enterprises as well as combinations of all these.
  8. Disseminate information from Objectives 1 to 7 to land managers and their consultants (extension, NRCS, online, etc.) as well as the scientific community (bioenergy regional and national meetings as well as refereed journal articles).



Expected Outcome

This project will set the groundwork for selecting regionally adapted CRP native seed mixtures that will diversify income and increase availability of future cellulosic bioenergy feedstock on land being converted to multiple-uses in the grasslands of the South Central Sun Grant region.

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