If not in its infancy, biomass farming is perhaps still toddling along. Yet, most indicators point to a significant increase in production and an additional source of revenue for farmers, as well as a variety of other benefits, depending on the crop being grown.
Signs point to a number of infrastructure, process and equipment enhancements that will make the harvesting, transportation and storage of biomass much more efficient in the next few years, if not sooner.
For starters, consider the harvesting of corn stover, which in many areas of the country can increase corn yields for the following year. Also, perennial grasses such as miscanthus and switchgrass can be grown on marginal land, require little in the way of inputs, and offer a number of environmental benefits, such as helping to filter runoff and prevent erosion.
Among such biomass-producing crops, stover already has a foothold. It’s readily available in many parts of the Corn Belt, where a partial harvest does help yields.
Now farmers and the biofuels industry are looking ahead at increased production of all things biomass, including the crops mentioned above, as well as energy sorghum, woody biomass and more. The U.S Department of Energy predicts total crop- and pastureland planted in bioenergy crops will increase from less than 10 million acres today to between 60 and 80 million acres over the next 15 years.
As a result of this increased demand, new processes and technologies are in development to help make the gathering and transport of biomass, particularly stover, more efficient and profitable for the farmer. Especially promising is single-pass harvesting, which promises the operator considerable time and fuel savings over other methods currently in use.
“AGCO has a unique solution for single-pass harvesting equipment with their new series of combines that are single-pass compatible,” says Dr. Matt Darr, assistant professor of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University. “AGCO is also a leader in the industry with single-pass baling products to provide producers and large energy companies the opportunity to make single-pass harvesting a reality within a supply chain.”
The technology in Hesston® by Massey Ferguson balers is ready-made to handle stover, as well as other biomass crops. Already, the Hesston 2170XD large square baler has earned its stripes for how densely it can pack the bulky crops, says David Ibbetson, a Kansas-based custom baler who uses two 2170XD balers to bundle some 15,000 bales each year in Iowa. He also uses Hesston round balers to bundle another 1,500-plus bales closer to his home in Yates Center.
Several other pieces of equipment that will aid in the harvesting of residue are now in the pipeline at AGCO. One such tool is a corn header that can harvest upwards of 150% higher volumes of corn and MOG. Another is a receiver chute that’s attached to the front of the baler and allows it to take in MOG without it being deposited on the ground before baling. “By having the baler accept the residue directly,” explains Maynard Herron, AGCO’s engineering manager at its Hesston, Kan., plant, “you cut in half the amount of ash in the bale. Those cleaner bales, of course, are more valuable and make this approach to stover more profitable to the farmer.”
Watch a video of Iowa State’s Dr. Matt Darr explaining when harvesting corn stover can increase yields, save money and time, and generate revenue at http://www.myfarmlife.com/crops/the-case-for-stover/.
Continue the conversation: Do you harvest stover? If so, have you seen a benefit on your farm?
If you would like to learn more about AGCO’s Biomass Solutions, please visit: www.bit.ly/AGCOBiomass.
Since the launch of the Fuse Technologies platform in 2013, a key goal of the Fuse connected strategy has been to increase and enhance industry partnerships. By taking an open approach to development and partnerships, growers can work with service providers of their choosing. This gives growers more control of how they manage their operations, helping them to make better decisions.
DuPont Pioneer and AGCO recently announced a global collaboration to bring wireless data transfer technology solutions to farmers in leading agricultural markets, including the United States, Canada, Brazil and key European countries. The agreement will allow seamless interface of data and farm management information between AGCO equipment and EncircaSM services, the new whole-farm decision solutions offering from Pioneer that is designed to help growers improve their productivity and profitability.
Growers can choose to have data collected through AGCO’s VarioDoc, TaskDoc™ and AgCommand® systems wirelessly transferred to Pioneer EncircaSM services. AGCO’s VarioDoc and TaskDoc are task file management systems that allow growers to conveniently and securely transfer task files between their farm machines and office without the need for a data card, portable memory drive or the physical transfer of devices.
For more information about Fuse Technologies and AGCO’s new connected strategy, visit www.agcotechnologies.com.
To learn more about how AGCO is collaborating with DuPont Pioneer to bring this technology to market, see the full press release here.
At AGCO, we strive every day to improve the quality of life for people in the communities where we operate, here in the United States and around the world. As a result of our efforts and those of other leading companies, the business community has helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency, conserve water and protect the environment – achievements that not only benefit Americans, but people in all countries.
A new Business Roundtable report, “Create, Grow, Sustain: Celebrating Success,” highlights the remarkable results of the sustainability efforts of 150 companies, including AGCO, which are driving investment, economic growth and job creation – while simultaneously improving the communities where we work and live.
Here’s one example of how we are ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come:
AGCO’s Fuse Technologies, our global technology platform, delivers leading-edge precision agriculture and communication solutions through seamless innovation, integration and enhanced optimization — resulting in input optimization and improved yields.
Featuring the most powerful tractors ever made by Massey Ferguson, the new 8700 Series delivers ground-hugging torque and fuel efficiency unsurpassed in conventional tractor design. But the advantages don’t end there: All five models in the series also feature a number of other industry-leading components, including additional performance-enhancing innovations in engine technology, high-capacity hydraulics and ergonomic cab design.
To begin with, the new AGCO POWER™ 8.4-liter, 6-cylinder engine delivers 270 to 370 max engine HP. “Add to that,” says Ash Alt, AGCO field marketing manager, high-horsepower tractors, “the Engine Power Management [EPM] system provides a boost of an additional 30 HP that allows for faster engine response, providing more torque and more power to the application.”
The Dyna-VT continuously variable transmission (CVT) has also been updated. “Still providing the unmatched performance without the need to shift, clutch or change ranges,” says Alt, “the CVT on the 8700 Series further reduces fuel consumption, as well as wear and tear on the operator and equipment.”
The hydraulics on the 8700 Series are also best-in-class. Oil flow has been increased by more than 17% to 54 gallons per minute. “Couple that with industry-leading oil flow management,” adds Alt, “and the hydraulics on 8700 tractors provide greater capacity and precision, and faster response.”
The new CYCLAIR cooling system increases overall tractor performance “by maximizing air flow through a series of coolers and out through a redesigned hood,” says Alt. “Vents in the hood split the air flow to expel hot air, while directing cool, fresh air towards the main radiator.”
In addition to the CVT and EPM, the new AGCO POWER engine also employs features such as high-pressure common-rail fuel injection and twin turbochargers, to help deliver more torque and greater efficiency at lower engine speeds. In combination with third-generation Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (cEGR) technologies, the new power plant further reduces fuel usage and engine wear.
Also increasing the versatility of the tractors, the 8700 Series offers the option of a factory-installed front 3-point hitch and 1,000-rpm PTO. The front 3-point hitch has a lift capacity of 11,023 pounds, while new monobloc weights for front ballast are also available. The 8700 Series tractors also feature a redesigned, rear 3-point quick hitch that’s easier to use and offers an increased lift capacity of 26,355 pounds.
Inside the cab, the 8700 Series tractors blend comfort, noise reduction and operator-friendly ergonomics, all of which reduce operator fatigue. Easier to read and navigate, the new dashboard contains a Setup and Information Screen (SIS) that is 50% larger and offers 10 times better resolution and intuitive functionality. Cab updates also include relocated B-pillar controls for added convenience.
“These new 8700 Series tractors,” says Alt, “are not only the most powerful tractors ever built by Massey Ferguson, but the most intuitive and productive in their class. They’re the result of multiple engineering achievements developed with the needs of our customers in mind all the way.”
For more information on Massey Ferguson compact, utility and mid-sized tractors, visit masseyferguson.us.
Dairy farmers present at the 2014, Alltech Farm Innovation Series are interested in learning about nutrition analysis, agronomy and technical developments that can impact their ability to produce more and become more efficient in their dairy operations. The companies Alltech, Big Ass Solutions, AGCO and Farm Credit have partnered to bring experts from all fields to discuss the latest technology with Series participants.
AGCO National Accounts Sales Manager Russ Green discusses the AGCO’s Fuse Technologies strategy which is a commitment to customers to provide solutions that optimize, coordinate and seamlessly connect their equipment and their farm. It demonstrates that by giving growers the right tools, solutions and support, they can farm smarter. Our goal is to insure that our solutions enable producers to link machines and management for technical and agronomic decisions and actions. Examples of producer savings in performance were presented that could improve customer revenues up to $6,800 per day.
To learn more about these events and even attend one in your area this week, please visit: http://www.alltech.com/about/events/farm-innovation-series.