Alternative methods of harvesting and storage of grass biomass in a semi-arid region

Mwithiga, Gikuru
Mazwiduma, P J
Tsopito, C M
African Journal of Agricultural Research
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Biomass is considered a potential feedstock for many renewable energy production systems and interest especially in grass production has increased markedly in the last two decades. The present work focuses on grass biomass in the semi arid regions of sub-Saharan Africa and includes the study of two different methods of harvesting and baling as well as two different bale storage methods. The results indicated an average dry matter yield of 22600 kg ha -1 . The average harvesting rate and fuel consumption were 1.57 h ha -1 and 6.23 ? ha -1 , respectively. The baling rate was 0.80 h ha -1 while diesel consumption during baling was 2.69 ? ha -1 . Manual harvesting using scythes varied extensively depending on time of day and the quality of the handmade bales though acceptable could at times fall below standards. The open barn storage method and open barn plus tarpaulin cover storage method could be used to store bales for a period of up to 5 months with minimum changes in neural detergent fibre (NDF) and acid detergent fibre (ADF) of biomass. The average fuel energy required to both harvest and bale, the biomass constituted less than 1% of the energy that could be recovered from the biomass if used as a fuel.
Name of Journal: 
African Journal of Agricultural Research
Resource Type: 
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Journal Issue/Article
Grassland Society of Southern Africa

The Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA) is involved and concerned with the science and practice of range and pasture management. This broad field involves primarily the use and conservation of natural resources. It encompasses applied fields such as livestock production, wildlife management, nature conservation, water catchment management and range and mine-dump rehabilitation. The disciplines include, amongst others, ecology, botany zoology, range and pasture science, animal science, soil science and genetics. This collection includes journal articles from the African Journal of Range and Forage Science as well as related articles and reports from throughout the Southern African region.