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Development of an Optical Yield Monitor for Sugar Cane Harvesting

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  071049.(doi:10.13031/2013.23546)
Authors:   Randy R Price, John Larsen, Alex Peters
Keywords:   Sugarcane, Yield Monitor, Precision Agriculture, GPS, Yield Map, Variability

A yield monitor is being developed for sugar cane harvesters that uses three optical sensors placed in the flooring of the conveyer. Using this approach, the sensors self clean in the material flow, and when combined with the proper electronics, software, and GPS, output a number that is relative to the mass flow rate. Advantages of the system are that no maintenance is required and the system can be mounted on a harvester within several hours. Initial tests indicate a linear calibration curve with an R-square value of 0.93. Fields tests with the system matched crop variances very well and overall tonnage amounts from one field varied by only 6.2%. If clogging did occur, the scouring of the conveyer cleaned the sensors typically within 3 seconds. Two monitors were used for more than 110 hours with no break downs and one sensor unit ran on a machine for more than 2000 hours. Additional testing needs to be done with different varieties, but the system seems to give fairly consistent results and is rugged enough to survive the sugar cane harvesting industry.

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