Corn stover has been identified as a potential feedstock for the production of fermentable sugars and thermochemical processes. The availability and efficiency of typical hay equipment for collecting corn stover has not been well quantified. Corn stover was collected for two years on a central Kentucky farm near Louisville. Six different harvesting treatments, using traditional hay equipment, were used to harvest corn stover. A rotary mower, rotary scythe (flail-type mower with windrow-forming shields), parallel bar rake, and a round baler were utilized. The average stover moisture content prior to grain harvest was above 40%, and field drying was required before baling. All treatments were analyzed for collection efficiency and corn stover yield. The stover collection yields varied from 1.93 to 5.34 dry t/ha, with collection efficiencies (ratio of stover collected to the total above-ground stover excluding grain) between 32.1% and 94.5%. The most promising collection strategy was disengaging the straw chopper and spreader to produce a windrow behind the combine. This windrow could then be baled in a separate operation that resulted in a collection efficiency of 74.1%.
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The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Contract No. 4000011647).
This article is published with the approval of the Director of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and designated Paper No. 04-05-066.
Prewitt, Robert M.; Montross, Michael D.; Shearer, Scott A.; Stombaugh, Timothy S.; Higgins, Stephen F.; McNeill, Samuel G.; and Sokhansanj, Shahab, "Corn Stover Availability and Collection Efficiency Using Typical Hay Equipment" (2007). Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Faculty Publications. 79.