Impact of cutting speed and blade configuration on energy requirement for miscanthus harvesting

Justin D. Maughan, Sunil K. Mathanker, Brian M. Fehrenbacher, Alan C. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous studies have shown that cutting speed and blade configurations play a critical role in crop harvesting. This study investigated the effect of cutting speed, blade oblique angle, and blade mounting in a field setting. To investigate their effect on Miscanthus harvesting power consumption, a hydraulically-driven single disk cutter head platform was developed. It has the provisions to adjust cutting parameters and was instrumented to measure the bending force on a push bar, torque, and cutting speed of the disk cutter. The cutting energy was determined at three oblique angles (0°, 30°, 40°), two blade mountings (fixed, flexible), and three hydraulic flow settings to drive the developed platform. Three hydraulic flow settings were used that resulted in average recorded cutting speeds of 31.5, 47.3, and 63.0 m s-1. The differences between the blade mountings were found to be negligible. A 40° oblique angle operating at 31.5 m s-1 had the lowest energy consumption, averaging 9.1 MJ ha-1. Similarly, a 30° oblique angle consumed 16.9 MJ ha-1 and a straight blade consumed 23.1 MJ ha-1. The results indicate that the cutting speed and blade oblique angle are directly related to the power requirements and efficiency of Miscanthus harvesting machinery. Information about the bending force of the Miscanthus was also collected and compared to the energy consumption of the machine. The data show that the energy consumption was correlated to the bending force. It is expected that the results of this study would help in modifying existing Miscanthus harvesters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-142
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Engineering in Agriculture
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Bioenergy
  • Biomass
  • Blade angles
  • Cutting energy
  • Cutting speed
  • Harvesting
  • Miscanthus
  • Yield sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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