Single-Pass Grain Corn Harvest and Stubble Shredding : Performance of Three Corn Header Configurations as Effected by Harvesting Speed and Cutting Height
This study aims to evaluate the efficiency of a new type of corn header equipped with flail knives that shreds corn stubble close to the ground. A field trial was carried out to quantify the influence of the shredding tool design (flail knives, standard knives, horizontal choppers disengaged), harvesting speed (1.5, 3.0, 4.5, 6.0 km/h) and cutting height (approx. 20 cm variation, 4 levels) on the power consumption of the corn header, engine load and fuel consumption of the combine harvester. The regression analyses revealed that modifications of the shredding tool assembly have significant effects on the parameters of the functional relationships. The power consumption of the flail knives configuration was 15 kW/row unit at 6 km/h at the lowest cutting height setting, making it compatible with most current combine harvester models. The additional power demand and fuel consumption that arise when switching to the new shredding tool design (flail knives) show a wide range, depending on the initial situation. Compared to the standard knives at 6 km/h, the additional power consumption was 3.6–5.5 kW/row unit and the additional fuel consumption was 2.6–3.9 L/ha. Compared to the configuration with disengaged horizontal choppers, it was 5.3–6.6 kW/row unit and 3.9–5.1 L/ha, respectively. At 90% engine load the additional power requirement was 1.6–3.1 kW/row unit and the additional fuel consumption was 2.9–5.6 L/ha compared to the standard knives configuration and 2.6–3.6 kW/row unit and 5.6–7.2 L/ha respectively, compared to the configuration with disengaged horizontal choppers.