The Annual AES Research Center Conference not only provides information but also builds relationships and synergies among colleagues from different research centers. This extra benefit of the conference was recently demonstrated when Brett Pettinger and Kevin Tanabe had a lunch conversation around the difficulties of accurate and efficient harvesting of forage sorghum varieties. This interaction resulted in a creative collaboration to build a more automated and safer weighing system for a forage harvester at AVRC.
Resourcefulness, one of Brett’s many skills, led him to weld a base assembly to the back of the silage chopper. Brett mounted digital weigh bars on 2×8” treated boards underneath the dump assembly. The catch hopper is a 4’x4′ sheet metal box, which has angles that funnel the silage into a hydraulic slide gate. Brett and Kevin primed and coated the assembly with graphite paint in order to make the surface slick enough to allow for complete evacuation of the silage sample once weighed and recorded. Brett also manufactured a bracket to place an electronic starter switch that pushes in and activates when the slide gate is closed. This switch triggers a light on the operator’s station of the tractor that ensures the driver that the gate is completely closed before starting to cut the next forage plot.
The leadership of Dean James Pritchett, Gene Kelley and Troy Bauder made this project possible. The design of the “center dump” silage scale system has also been put to use on Plainsman’s silage chopper (Two similar systems were manufactured in the past year). Kevin Larson, Perry Jones, Mike Bartolo and Lane Simmons also played a role in the design process, as well as the crew of hourly employees at AVRC who played a role in the manufacturing process of AVRC’s scale system.
This silage scale system exhibits the ingenuity in our staff at the Plainsman and Arkansas Valley Research Centers.