Bluegrass Swathing Time
Swathing bluegrass seed fields is underway here in the state. Grower Chad Denny talks about the process on his farm near Fairfield.
DENNY: Well, we’re producing bluegrass for seed production and we swath it down and let it set for ten days to two weeks, and then harvest it with a regular combine - set a little different than you do for wheat. We get the seed, in the ruff they call it, and it goes into these seed plants that clean it further before they package it and get it into a store ready product.
Just how long does the whole process take?
DENNY: For us, swathing we can knock down about ten acres an hour depending on the crop, and a couple weeks of drying weather, depending on what the weather does with it. But then with our machines we can harvest probably 75 acres a day. That’s considering if all is well. Humidity needs to be low when we harvest, so it’s not like you can start at nine in the morning, we have to wait until it’s 30 percent humidity or less, and 80 degrees is kind of the magic number. If you get conditions better than that then you’re in good shape.
The tri-state region of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon produces ninety percent of the total U.S. Kentucky bluegrass seed which is used in turf grass applications, erosion control practices, and pastures. In 2010 29 thousand acres of Kentucky Bluegrass seed were harvested in Washington state, with a production value of over $30 thousand.
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I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network.