Precision farming tools such as auto-guidance systems assembled on tractors and/or sugar cane harvester machines are being applied to decrease the costs involved with ethanol production. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the accuracy, the cane loss and the operational field efficiency achieved by an auto-guidance system used to guide a sugar cane harvester over the field when compared to a manually-guided machine. The field test was conducted with two treatments: auto-guidance versus manual guidance; and day versus night. Each treatment was replicated four times. Each position recorded represented a single sample, which was used to calculate the error between the planned and actual paths. It was concluded that the use of an auto-guidance system operating on a sugar cane harvester during the day and night periods increased the field pass-to-pass accuracy relative to the planned row track, but it is essential that the crop was planted using the system. The use of the auto-guidance system did not significantly decrease the sugar cane loss, once the crop was well cultivated. More long-term research needs to be done related to this issue. The operational field efficiency of the cane harvester was the same for both auto-guidance and manual steering systems.
Precision Agriculture – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 9, 2011
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