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Miscanthus in optimum condition for harvest 2017

16th February 2017

Miscanthus harvest 2017 has got off to a flying start, and one Lincoln-based contractor is confident that this miscanthus crop is in optimum condition for harvest.

"We cut 20 hectares before Christmas and have cut another 20 hectares since the New Year, and its going very well so far. The crop is in good condition, meaning it's easy to cut it to the cane length specification (40 cm or less), and its leaving a good swath," says Tim Russon, from P Russon and Sons, Lincoln.

Tim works with over 25 miscanthus growers in Lincolnshire and border counties , and is pleased with how this year's harvest compares with previous years.

The crop senesced (died back) early last autumn, at the start of November, due to some heavy frosts, and many crops are flowering, which indicates a long growing season. "This is good because its dry and it's easier to process," he says.

"In previous years, we've had little or no frost before Christmas, meaning the miscanthus hasn't senesced fully and was still green in some areas, meaning machine didn't process it well."

According to Tim, despite a good crop, the wet weather is hampering proceedings. "The ground conditions are poor because of the heavy rain we've been having, so we have halted the harvest.

"We have a lot of clients to get through and we try to harvest the crops that are growing in drier fields first, and will save the wetter land that's until the end of March, possibly even April when conditions are better," he says.

"It's not a good idea to be cutting the crop and laying it on really wet ground - it's better to wait until the ground is ready," he says.

When in the swath, in a reasonably dry spring, the cane will dry without needing to be moved. "The most important thing to ensure is that all of the sap has dried from inside the cane, and being conscious of how weather conditions can impact the drying process is very important," adds Tim.

To speak to Tim, and access the full list of contractors around the UK click here.

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