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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Establishment Costs of NWSG

This establishment tool is designed to allow the user to examine the various costs associated with the establishment of native warm season grasses.   Enter the costs associated with your particular operation.   If an input will not be used, leave the box blank.   For example, if you will only plant switchgrass, there is no need to place values for the other grasses.   Number formatting does not matter (6, 6.0, or 6.00 will work).

Enter the input costs for your forage production type

Enter number of acres to be established:

Seed Cost

Enter price of switchgrass seed ($/lb):

Enter price of eastern gamagrass seed ($/lb):

Enter price of big bluesteem seed ($/lb):

Enter price of indiangrass seed ($/lb):

Seeding Rate

Note: Seed should be planted on pure live seed basis (PLS).

Current Seeding Rates (per acre) Are As Follows:.

Switchgrass: 6 PLS
Eastern gamagrass: 12 PLS
Big bluestem: 8 PLS or 4 PLS if planted with indiangrass
Indiangrass: 8 PLS or 4 PLS if planted with big bluestem

Enter seeding rate of switchgrass seed (lbs/acre):

Enter seeding rate of eastern gamagrass seed (lbs/acre):

Enter seeding rate of big bluesteem seed (lbs/acre):

Enter seeding rate of indiangrass seed (lbs/acre):

Drill Rental

Enter price per acre for drill if rented ($/acre):

Fertilizer Costs

For fertilizer expenses, enter values for either custom blend or single-nutrient.   To determine which source is most cost effective, please use the fertilizer costs tool.

Note: Nitrogen should not be applied during establishment for NWSG.   For NWSG, if P or K are "low", then fertilizer should be applied. If pH is less than 5.0, then lime should be applied.

Custom Blends

Enter formulation of fertilizer (x-x-x):

Enter cost/ton of custom-blended fertilizer:

Single-nutrient Fertilizers

Enter values for either urea or ammonium nitrate.

          Enter price/ton of urea (46-0-0):


          Enter price/ton of ammonium nitrate (34-0-0):

Enter price/ton of diammonium phosphate (DAP) (18-46-0):

Enter price/ton of muriate of potash (0-0-60):

Enter price/ton of lime:

Fertilizer Rates for Establishment

Enter application rate of phosphorus (lbs/acre):

Enter application rate of potassium (lbs/acre):

Enter application rate of lime (tons/acre):

Enter other associated costs (spreader rental, etc. per acre) :

Herbicide Cost

For more detailed information on weed control, please visit the Tennessee Weed Control Manual.

Current recommended herbicide rates can be found here.

Note: 1 gallon = 128 oz

Enter price of glyphosate (also known as Roundup®, Glyphomax®, Gly-4®, or Accord®) ($/oz):

Enter price of imazapic (also known as Journey®, Plateau®, or Cadre®) ($/oz):

Enter price of 2,4-D (also known as Weedone® or Salvo®) ($/oz):

Enter price of paraquat (also known as Gramoxone Max® or Parazone®) ($/oz):

Enter price of Cimarron (Metsulfuron methyl plus a premix of dicamba and 2,4-D) ($/oz):

Enter price of other herbicides or surfactants applied, if needed ($/oz):

Enter name of other herbicides or surfactants applied, not required:

Herbicide Rates for Establishment

Enter rate of glyphosate (oz/acre):

Enter rate of imazapic (oz/acre):

Enter rate of 2,4-D Amine ($/oz):

Enter rate of Gramoxone Max ($/oz):

Enter rate of Cimarron ($/oz):

Enter rate of other herbicide or surfactants applied (oz/acre):

Fuel Costs

Enter price of diesel ($/gal):

Notes and Assumptions:

  1. NWSG establishment is typically prorated at 10 years and includes seed cost, herbicides and application, fuel, operating capital interest, variable and fixed expenses, and labor.
  2. No nitrogen during establishment year for NWSG.
  3. 5% simple interest assumed in calculating interest on operating capital.
  4. Variable machinery expenses include twine, oil, filter, repairs, and maintenance.
  5. Fixed expenses include machinery depreciation, interest, housing, and insurance in addition to NWSG establishment and land costs.
  6. Labor expenses at $8.50/hr and includes wages, Social Security, Medicare taxes, and payroll administration costs.

Disclaimer: Use of brand or trade names is for clarity and information; it does not imply approval of the product to the exclusion of others, which may be of similar, suitable composition. Always be sure to read, understand and follow directions and precautions on herbicide labels before use. As herbicides, herbicide labels and their availability and recommendations may change, it is best to consult your local Extension agent for the latest recommendations on herbicide use.