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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Increasing Inland Pacific Northwest Wheat Production Profitability Title: Narrow-width harvester for switchgrass and other bioenergy crops in experimental plots

Authors
item Long, Daniel
item Scharf, Patrick -
item Pierce, Frank -

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 27, 2010
Publication Date: March 16, 2011
Citation: Long, D.S., Scharf, P.A., Pierce, F.J. 2011. Narrow-width harvester for switchgrass and other bioenergy crops in experimental plots. Agronomy Journal. 103:780-785.

Interpretive Summary: Equipment is needed for harvesting high yielding energy forage crops in small plots. A flail-type harvester implement was constructed to be powered by an 85 hp narrow specialty tractor. Mounted to the front of the tractor, the harvester was successfully used to harvest switchgrass and Sudan grass. Under normal conditions, three people can harvest 20 plots (10-20 m long) in 1 h weighing the forage, emptying the harvester, and bagging samples. Cost of materials for the harvesting system was <$10,000.

Technical Abstract: Greater capacity could be achieved with equipment that enables harvest of high yielding energy forage crops and is adaptable to currently available equipment with minimal modification. An automated harvesting system for experimental plots was constructed to meet these requirements. The unit consists of a hydraulic drive, flail mower, support arm assembly, collection box and weighing platform, and electronic weighing system. The harvester is currently being powered with a 61 kW narrow specialty tractor, and has been successfully used in harvest of small plots of switchgrass and Sudan grass. The narrow tractor is maneuverable for operating around small plots and has sufficient horsepower for cutting and chopping heavy forages. Under normal conditions, three people can harvest 20 plots (10-20 m long) in 1 h weighing the forage, emptying the harvester, and bagging samples. Cost of materials for the harvesting system was <$10,000.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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