A series of 240 thin-layer drying runs carried out in 1988 and 1989 at the Scottish Centre of Agricultural Engineering were analysed to find out which factors influenced the rate of drying of grass mixtures. The grass used in the experiments was cut by hand, by a mower without conditioner or by a mower with conditioner. The experiments covered a range of air conditions from 16·0 to 40·4 °C temperature and 24·4 to 82·8% relative humidity. By fitting curves to the experimental data it was shown that the drying curves could be simulated by a two-parameter, exponential equation. Analysis of the data showed that the experimental results could be adequately represented by holding one of the parameters fixed and fitting the curves with only one parameter varying. The variable parameter, called the drying coefficient, was dependent on harvesting method and related to drying air temperature, initial moisture content and ratio of leaf area to stem area. A regression equation relating the drying coefficient to these variables for conditioned and unconditioned grass is presented.
Predictions from the regression equations indicated that the temperature of the drying air had a major effect on the drying coefficient. Both the initial moisture content of the samples and ratio of leaf to stem had a smaller influence on the coefficient over their likely range.