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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 73 No. 1, p. 65-66
    Received: May 16, 1980

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Soil Contamination of Forage Samples by Forage Plot Harvesters1

  1. W. C. Stringer and
  2. R. A. Peiffer2



Soil contamination of herbage samples during harvesting may inflate forage yields and render samples unfit for chemical analysis. Observations of soil in herbage samples led to these experiments to quantify soil contamination of herbage samples by various plot harvesting methods. Three harvester designs were compared: the Carter flail harvester; a Penn State-designed flail harvester with a blower to provide lift to the forage stream; and the conventional sicklebar and rake method. Soil contamination by harvesting was determined by comparing ash content of harvested samples with that of handharvested samples. The flail harvesters resulted in considerable soil contamination of samples. The Carter harvester consistently introduced more soil (5.1 to 9.1% by weight) into the herbage than the sicklebar and rake (0.1 to 1.0% by weight). However, the flail-with-fan did not always exceed the sicklebar-and-rake in soil introduction. It appears that significant soil contamination and yield inflation is possible with flail-type forage harvesters.

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