Forage harvester operation supported with tip wagon transport of chopped switchgrass to a road-side semi-truck.


Forage harvesters are mature technologies that harvests and pre-processes the crop by size reduction with a rotary knife drum. The demonstration was conducted with a pull-type forage harvester with windrow pickup. Commercial-scale implementation would likely use a high-powered self-propelled forage harvester. Limitations of current self-propelled forage harvesters are lack of a wide selection of suitable windrow pickups or direct cut headers for grasses. Our switchgrass harvest campaign involved five tractors and two tractor-trailer trucks, and all were monitored with GPS tracking for monitoring vehicle flow/idle time for logistics efficiency. Harvest began with mowing and windrowing with a Deere Model 630 mower-conditioner pulled with a 93 ptokW tractor. Next, the pull-type Deere Model 3975 forage harvester equipped with a windrow pickup chopped switchgrass using a 123 ptokW tractor.