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Machine Performance of Forage Harvesting Equipment on High-Tonnage Sorghum

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

Citation:  2011 Louisville, Kentucky, August 7-10, 2011  1111549.(doi:10.13031/2013.40403)
Authors:   Brandon E Hartley, John M Gibson, J Alex Thomasson, Stephen W Searcy
Keywords:   Biomass harvesting, Capacity, Energy crop, Field efficiency, Field speed, Forage, High-tonnage sorghum, Machinery management

The objective of this study was to document the performance of commercially available forage harvesting equipment on high-tonnage sorghum under a dual-harvest ratoon cropping system and a single-harvest under an extended season. Four mower-conditioner configurations were used in 2009 to document differences in field drying and impact of cropping conditions on machine performance. A windrow inversion was included in the 2010 study to increase moisture loss, prior to harvesting with a large square baler and self-propelled forage harvester (SPFH). The results indicate significant differences in conditioner operating speeds as field conditions degrade with the extended harvest season. The 2010 results confirm some windrower configurations to underperform others in certain field conditions. The raking field efficiency was significantly impacted by the harvest inefficiencies of the windrower and the cross-sectional geometry of the windrow. The SPFH exhibited a greater material capacity than the baler, but was significantly affected by theoretical chop length and crop moisture. Windrow inefficiencies also negatively impacted baler performance and reduced field efficiency due to unnecessary plugging.

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