• Open Access

An assessment of the effect of harvest time and harvest method on biomass loss for Miscanthus × giganteus


Correspondence: Peter G. Meehan, tel. + 353 1 716 7458, fax + 353 1 716 7415, e-mail: peter.meehan@ucd.ie


This study examines the amount of biomass loss occurring in Miscanthus × giganteus crop at harvest. The study assesses loss incurred as a direct result of the harvest systems employed to collect the material along with examining how the time of harvest effects the amount of loss occurring over the spring harvest window. Pre harvest losses of 4.8–5.1% were measured prior to harvest. There was no significant difference between pre harvest loss and post harvest loss when a self-propelled forage harvester fitted with a maize harvesting header was used to harvest the crop. The use of a conditioner mower and baler significantly increased crop losses to 9.4–14.1%. This demonstrates that correct selection of the harvest system can significantly increase biomass recovery. Additional losses were measured at headlands when the mower/baler system was used, but headland losses will not occur when self-propelled forage harvesters are utilized. Losses were significantly greater in the area beside the swath after the baler pass when compared to prior to baling. This study has shown that correct selection of harvest systems can significantly increase biomass recovery, with no significant difference in pre harvest loss or harvest loss occurring as a result of cutting the M. × giganteus crop at different dates during the harvest window (March 1st, March 25th, April 21st).