Modeling and analysis of row crop harvesting patterns by combines

Alan C. Hansen, Qin Zhang, Timothy A. Wilcox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies have shown that mechanical harvesting systems are becoming increasingly more complex, and that with the increasing capacity and performance, there are opportunities to increase productivity of these systems. Technologies such as auto-tracking create the potential to provide some level of automation and achieve higher productivity. One area that can be addressed is the harvesting path pattern. A number of options exist for executing one or more of these patterns in the field. In addition, the turns at the ends of crop rows play a significant role in the total time spent in the field. Adding more than one combine to the harvesting operation in a field contributes further to the complexity of these systems and widens the choices that the operations manager has to make in organizing and conducting the harvesting of a field. The purpose of this study was to analyze path patterns for a single combine with particular emphasis on turns in the headland of the field. The turns are mathematically described in order to be able to create a model that can be used to make some comparisons between different harvesting scenarios. The model was verified with field data collected from harvesting corn. Varying corn head size and the number of lands had a big impact on the total idle time related to turning in the headland.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-11
Number of pages7
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Combines
  • Grain
  • Harvesting
  • Modeling
  • Patterns
  • Row crop

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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