Current and Future Miscanthus in Iowa
AGgrowTech is responsible for over 1,100 acres of miscanthus in Iowa and that number will likely be increasing. The grass is currently grown for the University of Iowa’s power plants as part of their effort to use zero coal by 2025. Besides biofuel feedstocks, another miscanthus market is growing: bedding for livestock. Poultry production is expected to grow 10-12% over the next decade and miscanthus could play an important role. AGgrowTech has partnered with North Carolina State University and found that miscanthus bedding is better for poultry production compared to traditional wood shavings bedding. Maryland recently planted over 1,000 acres of miscanthus for poultry bedding and Iowa could see similar actions taking place. Major poultry producers in Northwestern and Eastern Iowa are testing miscanthus bedding for their production operations. If the producers like the product, Iowa could gain 1000’s of acres of miscanthus.
Benefits of Miscanthus Bedding
The benefits of miscanthus bedding and production outweigh those of traditional wood shaving bedding. These benefits include:
- Longer lasting bedding
- 3x more biomass per acre
- Less processing for final product
- Better feed conversion ratio
- Grown locally
- Reduced poultry ammonia emissions
- Reduces nitrate leaching
- Reduced soil erosion
- Increased soil organic matter
- Better compost
- Improved foot health
- Maintain weight
- 3x more absorbent
- 20% less moisture
- Sap free bedding
- Less mortality
Overall, miscanthus bedding provides several economic, environmental, and animal health benefits that traditional wood shaving bedding does not and therefore is the superior option.
More information regarding miscanthus production and miscanthus bedding can be found on AGgrowTech’s website: https://aggrowtech.com/.
Product of ISUBiomass Undergrad Team