Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment

C. Walla und W. Schneeberger:

Green electricity production using from energy crops of conventional farms


The study uses linear programming to investigate the impacts of the construction of a biogas plant on a farm’s production structure and net income. The calculations show that farms producing commercial arable crops could increase their net income through a biogas plant. Silage maize is the most cost-effective raw material for biogas production.

Given average yields, alternatives such as Sudan grass and other forage crops lead to higher costs per kWh. On beef farms, silage maize is produced for feeding to the livestock; remaining areas still available for maize production within the constraints of crop rotation are then used to produce silage maize for the biogas plant. Those farms with milk production and grassland only would see a drop in farm net income if they ceased animal husbandry and setup a biogas plant, though labour requirements would fall significantly.

Key words: biogas, energy crops, catch crops, grassland, linear programming, Austria, profitability.