Stem bending force and hydraulic system pressure sensing for predicting napiergrass yield during harvesting

S. K. Mathanker, J. C. Buss, H. Gan, J. F. Larsen, A. C. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Napiergrass, which resembles sugarcane in stature and cultivation practices, is emerging as a candidate bioenergy crop. However, limited studies investigating harvesting and yield sensing of napiergrass are available. This study investigated stem-bending force, and the hydraulic pressures of basecutter, chopper and elevator drives in a John Deere 3522 sugarcane billet harvester as indicators of napiergrass yield. The coefficients of determination (R2) between napiergrass yield and hydraulic pressures were 0.73, 0.88 and 0.81, respectively for the basecutter, chopper and elevator drives. The highest correlation (R2=0.92) was found between stem-bending force and napiergrass yield. The yield prediction errors were 4.9% and 8.6% for the calibration and validation plots with the stem-bending force yield sensor. Cross-validation, in which each harvested row was treated as a data point, showed that the average yield prediction errors were 10.9% and 11.8% for the calibration and validation data sets. Yield maps were also generated employing the stem-bending yield sensor. In addition, it was expected that the stem-bending yield sensor could be utilized to control harvester operation such as travel speed. Further studies would be needed to extend the stem-bending concept to other thick stemmed crops.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-178
Number of pages5
JournalComputers and Electronics in Agriculture
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Bioenergy
  • Biomass
  • Harvesting
  • Napiergrass
  • Yield maps
  • Yield sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Horticulture


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