20 January 2020
Maize is one of the most widespread crop worldwide because of its high yield and importance for food, chemical purposes and livestock feed. Maize cob remains in the field after grain harvesting. In Europe, just maize cob could provide an annual potential biomass of 9.6 Mt. Collecting such a biomass could be of interest for bioenergy production and could increase farmers’ income. Progress in harvest technology plays a key role in turning untapped by-products into valuable feedstocks.
During the project AGROinLOG the performance and the quality of the work of Harcob, an innovative system developed for maize cob collection simultaneously with grain, were evaluated in open field test. The results showed that it was possible to harvest 1.72 t ha−1 of cob without affecting the harvesting performance of the combine. The profit achievable from harvesting the corn cob was around 4% even if it is influenced by the market price. The use of cereal by-products for energy purposes may allow the reduction of CO2 from fossil fuel between 0.7 to 2.2 t CO2 ha−1. The Harcob system resulted suitable to harvest Maize cob and represent a solution for farmers investing in the bioenergy production chain.