In-Field Performance of Biomass Balers
Herbaceous biomass will contribute significantly to meeting renewable energy goals. Harvesting equipment for hay is generally suitable for mowing, raking, and baling grasses such as switchgrass; however, there is a need for field data to better understand machine performance in energy crops. The purpose of this study was to collect field data to estimate baler field capacity, throughput, and speed. Data gathered with a Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) unit during baling provided time-motion studies of baler productivity. Six fields were used to compare field capacity, speed, and throughput results from four round balers and one large-square baler. The results show that in-field performance of round balers is significantly affected by yield, but that the relationship can be represented with machinery management concepts, knowledge of maximum throughput, and wrap-eject time. Baler performance will be overestimated if the yield, maximum throughput, and wrap-eject time are not correctly accounted for.