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Harvesting for Seed Production Isn’t That Different From Conventional Crops

Harvesting a forage or turf seed crop may seem daunting but they aren’t that different from conventional crops. There are a few subtle differences but if you can harvest wheat, you can harvest anything.

BrettYoung Seed Production Specialist (SPS) Matthew Wright gets a few common questions each season when it comes time to harvest:

Is a conventional or a rotary combine better for grasses? #

Both rotary and conventional combines get the job done well. Most growers prefer a rotary combine for fine or small-seeded grasses and a conventional combine for large-seeded grasses.

Do I need a low-speed air kit for grasses? #

A low-speed air kit isn’t necessary for most grass seed, a few exceptions being native grasses. Most times, you want the air up a little bit or your sample can be very dusty.

Do I need a round hole sieve for alfalfa seed? #

Many growers prefer using round hole sieves when combining alfalfa. They can make thrashing a lot easier and it can potentially get you a cleaner sample, but a lot of growers do harvest alfalfa seed without the round hole sieves. With time, patience, and experience, they work well too.

What tips do other growers have for harvesting? #

When Wright asked his growers for harvesting tips and tricks, a lot of them mentioned patience. They recommend taking your time when setting your combine and waiting until the crop is ready to be harvested.

“Everyone agrees that the one thing you can’t do is rush,” said Wright. “You won’t be breaking any land speed records in the combine.” 

His growers also mentioned that with clovers and alfalfa seed, it takes a few hours or more to fill the hopper, which can free up trucks and hired help for other tasks.

BrettYoung’s Seed Production Specialists can also be a valuable resource at harvest. Their experience working with growers harvesting forage and turf seed in all kinds of conditions and equipment means they can provide recommendations to help you maximize your yield. 

Have a safe harvest.

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