Understanding interactions between basecutters, other forward feeding components, and cane stalk : Final report 2016/952
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Increasing harvesting speed has been necessary to facilitate the large increases in productivity required by the harvesting fleet to manage sugarcane-industry cost pressures. Whilst the power and processing throughput of the harvesters has been able to easily meet this requirement, the design of the ‘front end’ of the harvesters has undergone relatively little functional change since their initial development over 50 years ago. Linking rotational speeds of basecutters and gathering/forward feed components to groundspeed was hypothesised to optimise machine performance and minimise damage over a much wider operating speed range than with current machines. The data indicates that very significant gains can be made by reducing the damage associated with the gathering and knockdown functions of harvesters, and the magnitude of the potential gains warrants significant research focus. Chris Norris conducted this research in conjunction with QUT. Chris is an agricultural engineer with over 40 years’ experience, including 20 years in the sugarcane industry. He previously managed the BSES harvesting research program and has consulted internationally on sugarcane farming and harvesting. This project was funded in partnership between SRA and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Environment through the Rural R&D for Profit program.