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Storage and Grinding of Round Bales of Short-Rotation Willow

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  141898495,  2014 Montreal, Quebec Canada July 13 – July 16, 2014. (doi: 10.13031/aim.20141898495) @2014
Authors:   Philippe Savoie, Marc-Antoine Robert, Pierre Luc Hébert, François-Simon Robert, Emmanuelle Caron
Keywords:   Willow, Biomass, Storage, Processing, Grinding, Shredding, Energy.

Abstract. Short-rotation willow is a perennial crop with a high biomass productivity, in the order of 10 to 15 t dry matter (DM)/ha/year in eastern Canada. A novel harvest system, the biobaler, can cut willow stems and roll them up into round bales, typically 1.2 m in diameter by 1.2 m in width. Two experiments were carried out to evaluate DM loss of willow round bales over up to one year of outside storage. Both experiments indicated an average of 1.5% DM los per month in piles and shaded areas, for up to a year. Losses were less, at about 1% per month, when bales were left in well aerated and sunny areas. Handling losses were high in the first experiment (about 18%) due to breakage of bales and a long transport distance to the processing area. These handling losses were negligible in the second experiment when bales were moved carefully over a short distance. Two bale grinding systems were used to break bales into small particles (median length of 40 to 60 mm). Bales were processed at an average rate of 11.0 t DM/h, and required an average 5.35 L of diesel/t DM. Time to process bales decreased from 71 to 57 and 49 s/bale when using different size screens (fine, medium and coarse grinding, respectively). Processing after different periods of storage also had an effect on time, from 69 to 66 and 57 s/bale, after 6, 9 and 12 months of storage, i.e. as bales became lighter and drier. The data may be useful in the future to assess the cost of processing willow round bales and improve management decision to reduce storage losses.

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