Rather than ploughing in a maize stubble, German-firm BioMaRo is looking to develop a new market with a technique that ‘harvests’ the remaining stems and surface residues for putting through a biogas plant. To do this the company has developed a 3-tonne and 5m-wide machine called the Strohmax 5000. Two 2.5m-wide flail mowers not only chop stalks, but also generate the vacuum needed to ‘suck’ up other maize plant residues from the ground. The amount of vacuum can be varied by opening a series of top plates, after which the material is conveyed to a centrally-positioned cleaning system, where any soil in the mixture falls back to the ground. The company claims it is possible to salvage as much as 90% of the remaining maize stubble and surface residues. Made in Slovakia, it is also possible to press the material into pellets for heating purposes, and the machine can also be used after other crops, such as cereals and lucerne. Following successful tests with a number of prototypes, the first commercial machine, which costs around €37,000, was on display at Agritechnica. The Strohmax has a tractor power requirement of around 300hp, and can also be attached to the front of a small SPFH.