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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Shinners, K
item Boettcher, G
item Muck, Richard
item Weimer, Paul
item Casler, Michael

Submitted to: Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International (ASABE)
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/6/2006
Publication Date: 7/9/2006
Citation: Shinners, K.J., Boettcher, G.C., Muck, R.E., Weimer, P.J., Casler, M.D. 2006. Drying, harvesting and storage characteristics of perennial grasses as biomass feedstocks. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International. Paper No. 061012. p. 1-19.

Interpretive Summary: Switchgrass and reed canarygrass, two potential bioenergy crops, produced similar biomass yields in their second year of production in southern Wisconsin. Switchgrass tended to dry slightly faster in the field, but by placing the crops in a wide swath, both grass types could be dried to baling moisture in a single day. Both crops displayed similar baling and storage properties, and ensiling in a tube of plastic film resulted in the least (about 1%) loss of dry matter of the storage methods tested. The results show that the two biomass crops display similar production, harvesting and storage characteristics that should make them useful for bioenergy applications.

Technical Abstract: Reed canarygrass and switchgrass were established on 4 ha plots so that crop drying rate, baling rate, bale density, storage losses, and quality changes could be determined. In a single-cut system, switchgrass yield was 8% greater than reed canarygrass in the second year of production. Reed canarygrass yield was 14% greater in a two cutting system than in a single cut system. Initial moisture at cutting was 58 to 47% (w.b.,) for reed canarygrass and 66 to 46% (w.b.) for switchgrass. When crop yield was similar, switchgrass tended to dry faster than reed canarygrass. When crop was place in a wide-swath by tedding, it was possible to achieve baling moisture (<20% w.b.) in a single day. Bale density averaged 163 kg dry matter (DM)/m3, with no significant differences between crops or type of wrap (twine or net). Dry bales stored outdoors for 9 to 11 months averaged 3.4, 7.7, 8.3, and 14.9% DM losses for bales wrapped with plastic film, net wrap, plastic twine, and sisal twine, respectively. Bales stored indoors averaged 3.0% DM loss. The most uniform biomass feedstock was generated by storing indoors or ensiling in a tube of plastic film. Preservation by ensiling in a tube of plastic film produced average DM losses of 1.1%. Baling and then ensiling without field wilting was successful.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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