Model simulations for bioenergy harvest planning need to utilize equipment-capacity relationships for equipment operating under the high-yield conditions typical of a biomass crop. These performance assumptions have a direct bearing on the estimates of machine capacity, the number of machines required, and, therefore, the cost to fulfill the biorefinery plant demands for a given harvest window. Typically, two major issues in these models have been poorly understood: the available time required to complete the harvest operation (often called probability of workdays) and the capacity of the harvest equipment as impacted by yield. Simulations use annual yield estimates, which incorporate weather events, to demonstrate year-to-year effects. Some simulations also incorporate potential yield increases from genetically modified energy crops. There are limited field performance data for most current forage equipment used for harvesting high-yield biomass crops. Analysis shows that the impact of wrap/eject time for round balers resulted in a 50% reduction in achieved throughput capacity (Mg/h). After the maximum throughput is reached, the cost of the round bale operation (3.23 USD/Mg) is double that of the large-square baler (1.63 USD/Mg). The round baler achieved throughput capacity is 50% less (32.7 Mg/h compared to 71.0 Mg/h) than the large-square baler.
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