Cereal straw is an important biomass source in Europe. This work assessed: 1) the morphological and energetic characteristics of culms of spring and winter cereals, 2) the energy deposited in the different aboveground parts of cereals, 3) losses of energy due to different cutting heights. The straw of winter and spring cereals was collected from arable fields during the seasons 2009/10 and 2010/11 in southern Poland. Detailed biometric measurements of culms and internodes were performed. The losses of straw biomass and energy were assessed during simulation of cutting the culm at different heights, up to 50 cm. Longer and heavier culms were developed by winter wheat and triticale and oat. Cutting of straw up to 10 cm did not lead to significant losses in straw yield. The total amount of energy in the culms was as follows: triticale > winter wheat > oat > spring wheat > winter barley > spring barley. Cutting the culms above 20 cm led to significant differences in terms of biomass energy between cereal species. The smallest losses of energy were recorded for spring and winter barley. Oat and barley accumulated the highest energy in grains.
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