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Fiber optic yield monitor for a sugarcane chopper harvester

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A fiber optic yield monitoring system was developed for a sugarcane chopper harvester that utilizes a duty-cycle type approach with three fiber optic sensors mounted in the elevator floor to estimate cane yield. Field testing of the monitor demonstrated that there was a zero intercept linear relationship between the optical sensor response and the actual cane yields with an R2 of 0.98. The average observed prediction error on 0.5 to 1.6 Mg estimates was 7.5%; however, the magnitude of the error decreased as the harvested area (tonnage) increased, with an error of 0.03% for an estimate of 57.8 Mg loads. Factor testing indicated that the duty cycle reading was not affected by cane variety; harvester speed, harvested distance, or direction of cut (lay of the cane). Field testing across several locations in the U.S. totaled more than 557 h of operation and indicated that the system was robust, maintenance free, and self-cleaning but some obstruction of the fiber optic sensors did occur in wet, muddy soils. These obstructions were minimized by relocating the fiber optics closer to the bottom of the elevator and leaving holes on each side of the sensors to enhance cleaning and scouring. This monitoring system compares well with all previously researched methods and is more durable and easy to install.
R. R. Price , R. M. Johnson , R. P. Viator , J. Larsen , A. Peters
USDA Scientist Submission
Transactions of the ASABE 2011 v.54 no.1
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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