Switchgrass Research


USDA and University of Nebraska research on switchgrass was expanded in 1990 to include development of switchgrass into a biomass fuel crop. Initial research evaluated all available cultivars and elite strains at three Midwestern locations and identified cultivars and strains that had the most potential for use as biofuel crops. The highest yielding strains produced over 14,000 kg/ha biomass per year and over 10,000 kg/ha of cellulose + hemicellulose which would yield over 5000 l/ha ethanol (500 gal/acre) with a conversion effeciency of 75%. Susequent research has focused on specific breeding, genetics, and production problems. Optimum stage of growth and time period for harvest of switchgrass biomass in the Midwest was a three week period after plants were fully headed (about July 20 to August 15) and the optimum fertilization rate was 120 kg N/ha. It was determined that switchgrass is a micorrhizae (VAM) dependent plant, but inoculation will not be necessary because of VAM levels in agricultural soils. Information was developed that will allow a new herbicide to be registered for weed control during the establishment year. Genetic information to develop switchgrass hybrids was developed as well as the first molecular genetic markers for switchgrass. The breeding goal is to develop cultivars that can produce annual yields of 22 Mg/ha in the Midwest.

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About Casey McConnell

Casey McConnell, the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, founded Qittle in September 2008. Before founding Qittle, Mr. McConnell was the Marketing Director for The Aspen Club & Spa. Raised in Greeley, Colorado, Casey attended The Colorado School of Mines on an athletic scholarship for football. After college, Casey worked for his family's construction business before beginning his first Internet endeavor--Zoe Juice. Casey moved to Aspen, Colorado where he worked in the hospitality industry before starting at The Aspen Club & Spa in 2006. He worked to develop a vitamin line for the club before he was promoted to Marketing Manager in 2007. In his work with email marketing, Casey sees the potential text messaging will bring to the global marketplace-- much like how email exploded in the early part of the century. Casey is a member of Roaring Fork Leadership as well as the Aspen Young Professionals Association. He spends his free time in the mountains hiking in the summer and hitting the slopes in the winter. In the future, Casey hopes to take Qittle global and envisions the brand Qittle to be the number one company for text messaging solutions for businesses of all kind. Qittle, whose name Casey derived from different words meaning "talk" or "chatter," became a vision of how to quantify marketing efforts while incorporating the newest promising way to relay messages- mobile text messaging.
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