BioEnergy Research

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 1506–1518 | Cite as

Evaluation of a Single-Pass, Cut and Chip Harvest System on Commercial-Scale, Short-Rotation Shrub Willow Biomass Crops

  • Mark H. EisenbiesEmail author
  • Timothy A. Volk
  • John Posselius
  • Chris Foster
  • Shun Shi
  • Samvel Karapetyan


Harvesting is the single largest cost in the production of short-rotation woody crops (SRWC) like shrub willow, and previous systems tested in North America have not been effective for the size of material grown. The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of a single-pass, cut and chip harvester in conjunction with two locally sourced chip collection systems on 54 ha of coppiced willow harvests in New York State. Harvesting and collection equipment was tracked for 153 loads over 10 days of harvesting using GPS data loggers. Effective material capacities (C m) increased linearly with standing biomass up to 40 to 45 Mgwet ha−1 because ground speed was limited by ground conditions. This relationship changed dramatically with standing biomass in the 40–90 Mgwet ha−1 range, where C m plateaued between 70 and 90 Mgwet h−1 and was limited by crop conditions and harvester capacity. The relationship between standing biomass and the harvester’s C m will probably change under different crop and ground conditions. The size of the harvester and the experience of the operator are other factors. This nonlinear relationship will impact cost and optimization modeling SRWC systems. Improperly sized headland and long haul distances impeded the performance of locally sourced collection systems resulting in a 33 % decrease in C m from the field to the headlands, and 66 % from the field to short-term storage as biomass moves through the system.


Short-rotation woody crops Coppice systems Harvest logistics Effective material capacity Effective field capacity Efficiency 



This work was made possible by the funding under award #EE0001037 from the US Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office, New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and the Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). We would like to thank Larry Abrahamson, Andrew Lewis, and Penelope Pooler for their contributions to this project. We would also like to thank the anonymous journal reviewers for their valuable feedback to improve this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark H. Eisenbies
    • 1
    Email author
  • Timothy A. Volk
    • 1
  • John Posselius
    • 2
  • Chris Foster
    • 2
  • Shun Shi
    • 1
  • Samvel Karapetyan
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Environmental Science and ForestryState University of New YorkSyracuseUSA
  2. 2.CNH America LLCNew HollandUSA

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