Glenvar Harvest Direct – A bioenergy and weed management tool

The emerging bioenergy industry will create opportunities for farmers to control weeds as farmers look at efficient and cost effective ways to capture biomass such as wheat straw to feed bioenergy projects. In the process, machines like the Glenvar Harvest Direct could be the tool that farmers use to not only harvest this resource but remove weeds seeds from paddocks as well.

Currently most farmers either lay the crop residue in rows and burn it, or use chaff carts to capture the chaff which they later burn. However, considering the problems farmers have with chemical resistant weeds and the efforts and expenses going to controlling the problem, the Glenvar system offers a chemical free opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

The system uses a conveyer belt to transfer crop residue from the back of the harvester into a conventional baler towed behind. The machine is costly and needs a skilled operator familiar in both harvesting and bailing, it will also slow down harvest as farmers maximise the amount of biomass they take (while keeping enough straw on the paddock to protect the soil from erosion) but the benefits of using the system far out way the cons.

Energy Farmers believe farmers have an opportunity to get together and offer large amounts of crop residue to feed these bioenergy projects. One or more Glenvar systems could be contracted or owned by a group of farmers to collect the straw from the most weedy paddocks on each farm. This would negate the need to invest in a machine themselves.

The emerging bioenergy industry will offer many opportunities for farmers in the future. Sustainably produced energy and fuels will be in high demand and farmers, who own the resource will be in a good seat to capitalise.

Checkout a video of the system.



About the Author:

Euan Beamont is Co-Founder/Director of Energy Farmers Australia. From a rural background Euan has always had a strong connection to the land and is very passionate about the sustainability of agriculture. Euan believes that a carbon price is a good thing for agriculture and will enable farmers to change to more sustainable farming practices and move away from their reliance on fossil based energy.
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