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Don’t rush – bale dry!

  • Blog
  • 2 min read

At Terravesta, we always emphasise the importance of producing dry crop (with a moisture content of 16% or less) to secure best possible returns. At this time of year, balancing the desire to bale with the need to ensure optimum moisture levels is at the forefront of growers’ minds – and changeable weather conditions can often be an influencing factor. For instance, we have already seen the effects of frost on some of the new Miscanthus shoots at various sites, resulting in tips turning brown. With warmer soil temperatures this year, leaves are also unfolding as soon as the shoots emerge, rather than remaining in a conical stage for a period of time.

Some growers will understandably be worried about damaging shoots when the baler or chaser goes in – but it is imperative that they don’t let this panic them into baling wet cane. After all, any damaged shoots will be replaced with new ones (as seen in some previous years, when late frosts in May and June have killed emerging shoots). In any case, mild temperatures forecast for the remainder of this week mean shoots in most areas will have appeared by this time next week – even those in clay-heavy soils.

At the end of last week, baling at Hackthorn was 75% complete, with rain, once again, stopping play. No doubt the fine spell this week will allow us to finish the job. The Miscanthus here has been cut and left for five to six weeks – allowing the sap to come out of the cane and ensuring it is truly dry. This process has meant we were not the first to send 2014 crop to Drax. However, some of the first crop that it has received, from the Yorkshire region, tested at 18% moisture – uncomfortably close to the intake limit. The message from Terravesta is clear: baling dry is an absolute must if you want to reap the highest returns, so beware and don’t rush!

Terravesta is also offering discounted moisture meters – call the office on 01522 731 873 for yours.