Establishment of Miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus) as an Alternate Bedding Supply

2012 Annual Report for FNE11-719

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2011: $7,350.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Grant Recipient: Central Manor Dairy
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:
Steven Harnish
Central Manor Dairy

Establishment of Miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus) as an Alternate Bedding Supply


This three year study examines the use of dried miscanthus as a replacement for wood shavings for use in dairy bedding. The establishment year is the most expensive and time-consuming, and the crop takes three growing seasons to reach full yields.

Objectives/Performance Targets

For the second growing season of our miscanthus plot the only work needed was weed control. We applied Prowl in April to prevent weed emergence in the spring and summer. The results were excellent, no further applications will be necessary.

From May to October the miscanthus plants experienced rapid growth, they sent out new rhizomes that expanded each clump of stems. We planted the miscanthus plugs 30″ apart, each plant is now 14-16″ in diameter. During the 2013 growing season the plants should almost completely cover the soil surface except the open spots where plugs died during establishment in 2011.

The plants reached their maximum height of 11′ by October. During November and December the stems began drying out and the leaves fell off as expected. On December 10 the moisture content was down to 30%, still not down to the 15% threshold where we would like to harvest it.

We anticipate that there will be enough yield in January 2012 to run the bedding trial and conclude this project by summer 2013. The outreach portion could take place during winter 2013 when we have a new crop in the field and results from the bedding trial.


Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes


Dan MacFarland

[email protected]
Extension Educator
112 Pleasant Acres Road
York, PA 17402
Office Phone: 7178407408