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Getting the Best Harvest

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  • 3 min read

So all of the Miscanthus is starting to senesce and we are seeing a beautiful display of yellows as it turns and, in some cases, it has senesced more now than at harvest last year, which all bodes well for 2015.

So how do we get the best harvest? Over the last month we have had lengthy discussions with your contractors as to what we have found to be best practice and we have established some key factors that can make all the difference.

Cutting in the New Year as soon as the land is fit to travel without creating ruts or compacting the soil, allows the cane the maximum time to dry prior to baling. There are a number of additional advantages of cutting early; it means you can have it baled and carted leaving plenty of time for any additional weed control that is necessary before the Miscanthus starts to shoot or the option to undertake any remedial work that maybe needed to improve future yields.

First, ensuring that the Miscanthus is cut into 30-40cm rods in an ‘A’ frame swath so that the air can circulate and dry the crop. Cane cut into these lengths will be ‘waterproof’, while allowing any residual internal moisture to be lost through the ends but protecting the inner pith from absorbing rain or snow.

Baling it dry is critical and therefore we would always recommend baling between 2 to 5 bales and testing their moisture before carrying on with the rest of the field. If these are too wet they can be opened up and put back on the field to dry.

Finally, storage – once you have gone to all the effort of baling a dry crop, getting the bales into storage is paramount. Ideally barn storage is the best option and we pay a barn bonus for each bale kept inside. We appreciate that this is not always possible, but if you wish to use your grain sheds for your Miscanthus please tell us and we will ensure we move the Miscanthus before you need them for the next grain harvest. However, if you do need to keep it outside we would advise, if possible, putting the bale stack on hard standing and sheeting as far down the stack as possible.

We will be covering harvest best practice in more detail at our grower’s forums that will be taking place across the country in January.