Sensors for improved harvesting feedback: evaluation of suitability
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A feasibility study was conducted to investigate the value and application of sensors in the harvesting environment for improved feedback for quality and loss control. A desktop study, this project (a) investigated the current practices and processes of the harvesting community, including the present use of sensors, (b) Isolated the cause and effect of harvest quality and loss and the issues that are currently preventing change, (c) identified what contractors, growers and millers need and/or wish to achieve from the addition of sensors on harvesters (d) identified and evaluated commercially available sensors and other measurement systems for their suitability to measure certain parameters in the harvesting environment, and (e) identified four sensing systems most likely to succeed in future efficacy testing. The project was conducted with a strong consultative approach with industry, using surveys, focus groups, presentations and one-on-one meetings to discuss regional issues and potential solutions. Ultimately, industry has prioritised the following quality and loss pathways: (1) extractor losses, (2) basecutter quality (height control), and (3) cane supply quality. Spectral imaging, proximal NIR spectroscopy and radar technologies were favoured solutions.