Milkweed Harvest Update

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The 2006 milkweed harvest is complete.  On September 14th, we harvested 3.6 acres of common milkweed with our newly designed milkweed harvester.   Working with the observations and performance issues from last year's harvest comparing the Pixall Big Jac bean picker and Uni-harvester ear corn picker, we chose to redesign the Uni-harvester. To improve the efficiency of gathering material into the head we decreased the row spacing to 15 inches and increased the speed of the gathering chains and snapping rollers.  Deck plates we adjusted to 3/4 inch and an additional fan was mounted internally to aid in removing more debris.  The greatest loss of material was from either logged material in the field and stems snapping of and being ejected through the stalk ejector.  Overall, the Picker performed beautifully even under very high weed pressures.  Field losses were estimated at about 10%.  Pods were sufficiently clean that they could be bagged directly and placed on either fence posts outside or in a force air dryer.  An estimated 1,240 lbs. of green pods were harvested per acre .  These harvested pods will dry to approximately 400 lbs.  After processing, we are estimating 120lbs of seed and 84 lbs. of floss per acre.   

Dr. Phippen introduces the newly designed milkweed harvester    Pods were bagged directly from the harvester
15 inch row head easily harvested pods under high weed pressure (mares tail)    Pods were bagged and placed in forced air dryer

Mechanically harvested milkweed pods  


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Last revised: October 19, 2012