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    The joint effects of poplar biomass productivity and land costs on poplar production economics were compared for 12 Minnesota counties and two genetic groups, using a process-based model (3-PG) to estimate productivity. The counties represent three levels of productivity and a range of land costs (annual rental rates) from $128/ha to $534/ha. An optimal rotation age (ORA) was calculated that minimizes the annualized, discounted per-dry Mg biomass cost for each county, genetic group and land cover, and for two discount rates (5 and 10%). The ORA for the lowest-cost county (Todd) with specialist genotypes and a 5% discount rate is 14 years and the breakeven price at that age is $71 dry Mg-1, while for the highest-cost county (McLeod), the generalist genotype and a 10% discount rate the ORA is 10 years and the breakeven price at that age is $175 dry Mg-1. Planting after a previous poplar stand increased breakeven prices and increased the ORAs by 1 to 2 years relative to planting after a previous annual crop. The discount rate has a large impact on optimal poplar rotation ages and breakeven prices. All other factors being equal, an increase in the discount rate from 5 to 10% is expected to reduce ORAs by 2 to 3 years. High-productivity supplysheds can also be expected to have ORAs that are 2 to 3 years shorter than low-productivity ones.

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    Lazarus, William; Headlee, William L.; Zalesny, Ronald S. 2015. Impacts of supplyshed-level differences in productivity and land Costs on the economics of hybrid poplar production in Minnesota, USA. BioEnergy Research. 8(1): 231-248.


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    hybrid poplar, economics, land rent, discount rate, biomass, 3-PG

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