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Spring Switchgrass Harvest with a New Holland Large Square Baler

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

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1009029.(doi:10.13031/2013.31928)
Authors:   Benjamin D Kemmerer, Jude Liu
Keywords:   Switchgrass, Biomass, Bale Density, Biomass Logistics, Large Square Bale

A New Holland BB9080 large square baler was used to produce large square bales of switchgrass with 900mm by 1200mm end dimensions. The switchgrass was harvested for seed in the fall and the biomass was left to overwinter on the ground. Bales of two different densities were produced and weighed in order to study the densification capabilities of the baler. Fuel consumption data and GPS data were also collected during bale production. The baler had the capability of producing switchgrass bales that approached 200 kg/m3 at 12.5% (wb) moisture content. Fuel consumption during the baling process varied from one to two liters of diesel fuel per Mg of switchgrass baled. The baler was towed at varying speeds in order to feed the baler at a constant rate. Therefore heavier windrows resulted in lower ground speeds. The most significant finding was the dramatic increase in the efficiency of bale production due to increased windrow density and decreased ground speed of the tractor and baler. There was a 31% decrease in fuel consumption in terms of L/Mg of switchgrass baled due to decreasing the ground speed from 7.45 km/h to 5.29 km/h.

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