GPS Tracking

GPS tracking of a forage harvester (green), tip-wagon (red), and over-the-road truck (blue).


The technology of GPS tracking was used as a basis to monitor the logistics efficiency associated with the bulk-format switchgrass harvest campaign. GPS units were used to simultaneously monitor five agricultural tractors hitched to either mower-conditioner, forage harvester or three tip wagons, and two tractor trailer trucks that hauled the chopped switchgrass to the storage depot. Manual notes were taken to complement the GPS recorded movements. After harvest, the GPS tracking data for each vehicle was added as a layer in GIS software and overlaid on field and road maps. Specific operation of each machine at any given time was determined by logical analysis of geographic position, proximity to other machines, speed, and heading. The result was an analysis of productive vehicle time and movement versus wasted or idle time. These results aid the deployment of future harvest logistics systems for various field conditions, equipment selections, haul distances, and roadside loading points.