Performance of machinery in potato production in one growing season
Statistics on the machinery performance are essential for farm managers to make better decisions. In this paper, the performance of all machineries in five sequential operations, namely bed forming, stone separation, planting, spraying and harvesting in the potato production system, were investigated during one growing season. In order to analyse and decompose the recorded GPS data into various time and distance elements for estimation of the machinery performance, an automatic GPS analysis tool was developed. The field efficiency and field capacity were estimated for each operation. Specifically, the measured average field efficiency was 71.3% for bed forming, 68.5% for stone separation, 40.3% for planting, 69.7% for spraying, and 67.4% for harvesting. The measured average field capacities were 1.46 ha/h, 0.53 ha/h, 0.47 ha/h, 10.21 ha/h, 0.51 ha/h, for the bed forming, stone separation, planting, spraying, and harvesting operations, respectively. These results deviate from the corresponding estimations calculated based on norm data from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). The deviations indicate that norms provided by ASABE cannot be used directly for the prediction of performance of the machinery used in this work. Moreover, the measured data of bed forming and stone separation could be used as supplementary data for the ASABE which does not provide performance norms for these two operations. The gained results can help farm managers to make better management and operational decisions that result in potential improvement in productivity and profitability as well as in potential environmental benefits.
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