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Impact of Harvesting Operations on Miscanthus Provision Costs

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

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 59(5): 1031-1039. (doi: 10.13031/trans.59.11178) @2016
Authors:   Tao Lin, Sunil K. Mathanker, Luis F. Rodríguez, Alan C. Hansen, K. C. Ting
Keywords:   Biomass, Costs, Harvesting, Optimization, Yield sensing.

Abstract. Biomass harvesting, achieved through a combination of mowing and baling operations, constitutes a significant portion of biomass provision costs. The spatial variations in biomass yield lead to the challenge of achieving high harvesting efficiency. This study quantifies the impact of harvesting operations on Miscanthus provision costs through the integration of in-field harvesting performance data and systems-level BioFeed optimization modeling. The in-field experimental results showed that biomass harvesting throughput is highly dependent on biomass yield and machinery performance, such as operating speed. By incorporating these experimental results, the BioFeed optimization modeling analysis showed that Miscanthus provision costs varied with different operating speeds. With the adoption of real-time sensing and control technologies, the biomass harvesting rate associated with mowing and baling operations could be increased and maintained subject to a maximum throughput rate for the machine. The increase in operating throughput could reduce Miscanthus provision costs from $69.8 to $62.7 Mg-1 for a farm study in Champaign, Illinois. Given optimal machinery management supported by a sensing system, the optimization model was applied to estimate county-level Miscanthus provision costs to quantify the impact of biomass yield changes and farm size. The results showed that Miscanthus provision costs decrease with higher yield and larger farm size, ranging from $49 to $82 Mg-1 for 30 counties in Illinois.

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