Submitted to: Conservation Tillage Fact Sheet
Publication Type: Popular publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/30/2006
Publication Date: 2/15/2006
Citation: Henry, W.B., Vigil, M.F., Nielsen, D.C. 2006. Proso Millet Harvest: A Comparison of Conventional Harvest and Direct Harvest with a Stripper Header. Conservation Tillage Fact Sheet. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: This research was conducted to determine if proso millet can be harvested with a stripper header. Stripper headers use extremely fast rotating metal teeth to rip the seed off the plant and leave the majority of residue standing in the field as opposed to cutting off the entire plant and running that through the combine. Increased residue is especially beneficial for dryland producers. Residue reduces soil erosion, increases snow accumulation (particularly standing residue), reduces moisture loss via evaporation, and increases soil water storage for the following crop. Fuel costs are increasing, and if it is possible to eliminate the swathing operation in harvesting proso millet without losing yield, this would save money for the producer. Conventional proso millet harvest includes a swathing operation that lays the proso millet down in wind rows and speeds up the drying process. Once dry, the proso millet is then harvested with a pickup head. Alternatively, with a stripper header, the proso millet dries while standing in the field, and is then harvested directly. Research has been conducted, and is currently ongoing, on the benefit of residue from stripper header harvested wheat on the following crop; however, little is known about harvesting proso millet this way. Preliminary data suggest that this is an effective means for harvesting proso millet. Yields were equal between conventional and stripper header harvest with approximately five times as much standing residue following stripper header harvest that remained in the field to catch snow, reduce evaporation and prevent erosion. By eliminating a swathing operation and increasing standing residue, producers can improve profitability of their cropping system.