I've been mowing my reed canary grass for straw, the past couple of days. If the snow is not too deep, and the grass is still upright, you can mow even in winter, with a scythe. This grass makes a great straw bedding for my geese.
_I harvest my reed canary grass in late fall, or early winter, to use as straw bedding for my geese. As long as the grass is still standing upright, and the snow is not too deep, you can still mow it with a scythe, even in winter. The DNR hates reed canary grass because it becomes a naturally dominant monoculture. This is great for a small farmer that needs some straw, however. By late fall, this grass is a totally dry, and seed-free, mono-crop, that is ready to harvest and ready to use. The straw bedding makes my geese feel like they are in their natural habitat. I write more about how I harvest this grass at http://onescytherevolution.com/1/post/2009/11/reed-canary-grass.html
Notes on mowing: At 0:49 I try to mow as slowly as possible, so you guys can see how blade cuts the grass. Otherwise it just looks like I am just whisking the grass to the side. At 1:22 I resume a comfortable pace using the Advanced Field Mowing Technique, (i.e. using a weight-shift to the left as a springboard for the mowing action.) Tremendous Tai-Chi like power can be generated this way. The reed canary grass has thick stems, and would be a lot of work to mow with just your arms. For mowing instruction see http://onescytherevolution.com/mowing.html