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How Is Grass Seed Harvested?

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How Is Grass Seed Harvested?

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How Is Grass Seed Harvested? image by Shick/Morguefile.com, Earthsourceinc.net, Bahiagrass-seed.com, Charmaineswart/Morguefile.com

Direct Combining

The first step in harvesting grass seed, a large combine is used with blades that cut the grass and then rollers push the grass into a large bin. This method requires the least amount of time and labor, removing the seeds at the peak of maturity. Since still a large amount of green seed is harvested, the grains must be allowed to dry before they can be stored. The combine is set to cut the grass heads at the highest possible point, reducing the amount of stem and chaff collected. This will usually mean that the remaining stubble will have to be cut again later.

Seed Stripping

This method involves a combine that uses combs to strip the seeds from the plants and then a vacuum pressure will send the seed into a collection tank This leaves the plant intact for wildlife and preserving the topsoil structure. This method is often used for native grasses but tends to be too expensive for commercial grass seed farmers. The quality of collected seed tends to be better than average since less chaff is included with the mix, but the seed still needs to be dried before storage.

Swathing and Combining

This method tends to be the most common method of harvesting grass seed. The grass is first cut with a huge combine a few inches from the ground, leaving the stems to hold the cut grasses off the ground. The swathed plant is allowed to dry on the field. It can be risky since the weather could dampen the seed and high winds could scatter it, but the cost is much less compared to the cost of drying it. The dried matter is picked up with the combine after 5-10 days of drying and brought to storage.

Keywords: grass seed, combine farmer, swathing stripping

About this Author

Maryland resident Heide Braley is a professional writer who contributes to a variety of websites. She has focused more than 10 years of research on botanical and garden articles and was awarded a membership to the Society of Professional Journalists. Braley has studied at Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University.

Photo by: Shick/Morguefile.com, Earthsourceinc.net, Bahiagrass-seed.com, Charmaineswart/Morguefile.com