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Computer Manipulation of Modeling Variables in Dust Particulates Study

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

Citation:  Pp. 463-469 in Proceedings of the World Congress of Computers in Agriculture and Natural Resources (13-15, March 2002, Iguacu Falls, Brazil),  701P0301.(doi:10.13031/2013.8367)
Authors:   F. E. Eaton, R. L. Roth, J. Walworth, P. N. Wilson, S. H. Husman
Keywords:   Dust, Computer Application, Conservation Tillage, Filter, PM10

Harvest and tillage operations are acknowledged to have an ecosystem impact through their disruption of the soil and they thereby generate dust particulates. A multi-year project was undertaken to study the particulates that are generated in the mandated cotton stalk plowdown in Arizona. The primary focus of this study is on the amount of dust particulates generated by each of three minimum tillage/controlled traffic systems and a conventional tillage system. The dust plumes arising behind each implement associated with the plowdown tillage systems are sampled for quantity and quality. Additional aspects of this study are to compare cotton yields over several years for the four plowdown methods as well as to compare their operational efficiencies.

A dust monitoring unit was built to collect dust samples from four discrete elevations above the tillage zone. The unit was designed so it could be moved easily and quickly to any one of eight tillage implements. Instrumentation and control circuits were designed to generate additional data for computation and calibration of the sampling volume of the dust plume. LabVIEW, a graphical programming language and virtual instrument (vi) software package from National Instruments was utilized to collect data during all of the tests and to process all of the incoming data in real time. Four high volume filters, 100 m 3 /hr, were used to quantify the particulates and a low volume filter, 1m 3 /hr, was used to qualify the entrapped dust particulates. The particles were classified as to PM10 and PM2.5 (indicating the diameter in mm). Important lessons were learned during the initial phase of the study. Refinements to the procedure as well as additional features to be added to the project are discussed in the findings and recommendations sections.

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