The 650hp Big X harvesting miscanthus in Northern Germany in April. Krone photo
Harvesting in April – miscanthus for heating
The grower is Hendrik Vornholt who farms land near the village of Borken-Weseke and who uses the chopped grass to fuel his heating system. “We grow the grass on a 4ha plot of land that we wouldn’t be using otherwise, because it simply gets too wet in spring. So, using it to grow miscanthus, we can reap a two-fold benefit – we cultivate what otherwise would be wasteland and use the crop to fuel our heating system. So, it truly makes a good profit.”
Hendrik has been watching the harvester very closely. “The winter was very long and very cold, so much of the crop was lodged by snow and ice. Really a tough situation for the forager.”
The forager was a Big X with a 10-row maize header, operated by the local contractor Anton Sieverdingbeck.
“Indeed, lodged crop is quite a challenge for a forager. But Big X didn't have an issue with the situation. Pulling in the crop and chopping it to accurate lengths worked like a peach," comments Anton Sieverdingbeck, who added the 650hp monster to his fleet only recently.
He anticipates a growing demand from miscanthus growers in the near future, because “miscanthus is a low-input crop that has an excellent net energy balance and is an excellent source of biomass energy and fibre. Its CO2 balance of 35t/year is impressive, too.”
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