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Field Research (2003-2006)

 

   

2003 Reed canarygrass leaching up arrow

Objective: Preliminary observations on ash content of reed canarygrass with delayed baling.

Methods: Three replicates of reed canarygrass were cut and left in the field up to 29 days during the summer of 2003.

Results: Ash content at cutting was 7.2%. Ash content of bales declined to 4.1%.

 

   

Preliminary observations

2003 Reed canarygrass overwintering up arrow

Objective: Preliminary observations on overwintered reed canarygrass forage.

Methods: Primary growth of reed canarygrass in 2003 was left in the field to overwinter.

Results: Grass became lodged almost completely flat with essentially 100% loss of harvestable yield in April, 2004. Hand-cut samples averaged 3.8% ash.

 

2003 Tall fescue up arrow

Objective: Three replicates of 21 tall fescue varieties were evaluated for ash content during the spring of 2003.

Methods: Samples were taken from varieties during May 2003.

Results: Varieties were not significantly different in ash content. Ash content declined to approximately 8% by the end of May.

 

2004 Mixed grass fields up arrow

Objective: Fields of mixed grass species were used to evaluate delayed harvest ash reduction strategies.

Methods: Seven fields were cut in early August, left in the field for two weeks, and large square bales (700 lbs) were made with commercial equipment. Windrows were tedded as needed.

Fields included:

     

1. Timothy (90%+)
1. Timothy (90%+)
2. Timothy-alfalfa (Timothy 56%, Legumes 32%, Weeds 12%)
2. Timothy-alfalfa (Timothy 56%, Legumes 32%, Weeds 12%)
3. Bedstraw/Mixed grasses (Bedstraw 42%, Mixed grasses 58%)
3. Bedstraw/Mixed grasses (Bedstraw 42%, Mixed grasses 58%)

     

4. Mixed Perennial grasses (Tall oatgrass 27%, Mixed grasses 73%)
4. Mixed Perennial grasses (Tall oatgrass 27%, Mixed grasses 73%)
5. Abandoned Field #1 (Goldenrod 41%, Other weeds Asters/Hop Clover/Heal-all 59%)
5. Abandoned Field #1 (Goldenrod 41%, Other weeds Asters/Hop Clover/Heal-all 59%)
6. Abandoned Field #2 (Goldenrod 42%, Other weeds Hop clover/Strawberry clover/Heal-all/Sedges 58%)
6. Abandoned Field #2 (Goldenrod 42%, Other weeds Hop clover/Strawberry clover/Heal-all/Sedges 58%)
and

7. Wheat Straw (100% wheat straw)

 

Results: Harvesting went smoothly in spite of a very wet summer. Sooner or later hay will dry out, with tedding as needed. Some soil contamination was apparent for two abandoned fields that had not been cut for 15 or more years. Large ant hills and other obstructions resulted in a modest amount soil contamination. Pellet composition of material from some of these fields (average of 3 replicates) is shown in the pellet data table, along with the average of two lots of premium wood pellets.

     

The three elements much more abundant in soil than plants, used for soil contamination indicators, are titanium, aluminum and iron (see references). Iron content of grass should be around 2-300 ppm. For seven fields of grass, iron content ranged from 178 to 920 ppm and the correlation between iron content and ash content was r2=0.80. Grass from abandoned fields with rougher terrain and barley straw had small but significant soil contamination, affecting the ash content. Soil contamination should be avoided to minimize ash content of grass bales.

 

2005 Studies up arrow

Reed canarygrass germplasm. A collection of wild type reed canarygrass germplasm were planted in New York, Iowa and Wisconsin to be evaluated for possible development of a biomass-type reed canarygrass variety, as was done in Sweden to produce Bamse.

Reed canarygrass harvest management. One- vs. two-cut management was evaluated at several locations in NY.

Old meadows. An old mixed grass meadow was fertilized with N or manure and harvested one or two times per season to evaluate the impact of more intensive management on meadows.

Factors affecting ash content. Sandy and clay sites were planted to switchgrass, tall fescue and reed canarygrass. Fertilization and harvest management will be evaluated for affects on ash content of forage.

Field scale testing. Fields of switchgrass and reed canarygrass were managed to minimize ash content. Fields were fertilized with 100 lbs of nitrogen fertilizer in the spring of 2005. Both switchgrass and reed canarygrass were mowed in early August and forage was allowed to remain in the field for over 3 weeks, with tedding as necessary depending on rainfall. Rainfall was mininimal during this period. Forage was collected as large square bales and stored for pelleting. Bales were shipped to Canada for pelleting. On a dry matter basis, reed canarygrass pellets were 2.7% ash, 1.0% N, 0.40% K, 0.09% Cl, and 0.10% S. Switchgrass pellets were 3.0% ash, 0.8% N, 0.50% K, 0.05% Cl, and 0.10% S.

 

 

Reed canarygrass harvest management. A one- vs. two-cut management was again evaluated at 3 locations in NY.

2006 Studies up arrow

Reed canarygrass germplasm. 84 entries of reed canarygrass varieties and wild-type germplasm sources from the Midwest and Northeastern USA were harvested at locations in Wisconsin and New York in 2006. Plots were harvested in early summer and again in the fall. This management will be repeated in 2007 at these sites and at an Iowa site.

 

 

References up arrow

 

Cherney, D. J. R. and J. H. Cherney. 2006. Split application of nitrogen on temperate perennial grasses in the Northeast USA. Online. Forage and Grazinglands doi: 10.1094/FG-2006-1211-01-RS.

Cherney, J. H., and D. J. R. Cherney. 2005. Grass pellet bioenergy in the Northeastern USA. p. 403. In: Proc. Int. Grassl. Congr., XXth, 26 June – 2 July, 2005. Dublin, Ireland. Wageningen Acad. Publ., Wageningen.

Woodbury, P. B., J. H. Cherney, J. Wightman, J. M Duxbury, W. J. Cox, C. L. Mohler, and S. D. DeGloria. 2005. Evaluating strategies for biomass fuel production in New York State. p. 250. In: Third USDA Symposium on Greenhouse gases and carbon sequestration in agriculture and forestry. 21-24 Mar., Baltimore, MD. USDA.

Cherney, J. H., P. B. Woodbury, and S. D. DeGloria. 2005. Grass Bioenergy in the Northeastern USA. p. 71. In: Third USDA Symposium on Greenhouse gases and carbon sequestration in agriculture and forestry. 21-24 Mar., Baltimore, MD. USDA.

Cherney, J. H., and D. J. R. Cherney. 2005. Agronomic response of cool-season grasses to low intensity harvest management and low potassium fertility. Agon. J. 97:1216-1221.

Cherney, D. J. R., and J. H. Cherney. 2005. Forage yield and quality of temperate perennial grasses as influenced by stubble height. Online. Forage and Grazinglands doi:10.1094/FG-2005-0215-01-RS.

Cherney, J. H., Q. Ketterings, and J. L. Orloski. 2004. Plant and soil elemental status as influenced by multi-year nitrogen and potassium fertilization. J. Plant Nutr. 27(6):991-1014.

Cherney, J. H., D. J. R. Cherney, and M. D. Casler. 2003. Low intensity harvest management of reed canarygrass. Agron. J. 95:627-634.

Cherney, J. H. and D. L. Robinson. 1983. A comparison of plant digestion methods for identifying soil contamination of plant tissue by Ti Analysis. Agron. J. 75:145-147.