If you stroll down the line of equipment at POET's Project Liberty Field Day in Emmetsburg, Iowa, the word that comes to mind is "options”. No matter your operation's size or scale, there is a cob harvesting option to meet your needs.
Sixteen equipment companies were on hand today at the annual harvest event to showcase the latest prototypes for cob collection and removal, ranging from wagon-style collection systems to all-in-one corn and cob collection systems. Cobs will be the primary feedstock for POET's commercial cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg.
"There have been great strides made in cob harvesting equipment since our field day last year,” says Scott Weishaar, POET's Vice President of Commercial Development. "The equipment companies have really stepped up to the plate.”
New to the harvest day this year is equipment that can collect and harvest cobs into biomass bales. A biomass harvesting system currently in development at AGCO is a one-pass system that combines combine technology with the Hesston large square baler to collect and package clean corn cobs, husks and leaves into 3' by 4' square bales. CASE IH, among other manufacturers, is also working on prototype baling systems.
Most equipment manufacturers expect to release cob harvesting equipment on the market starting next year. POET is currently working with 14 local farmers to contract for cob collection and plans to increase the number of farmers it works with in 2010.
"We have limited availability to collect cobs for Project Liberty, so we encourage farmers to let us know immediately if they want to sign multi-year contracts,” says Jim Sturdevant, director of Project Liberty. The facility will require more than 700 tons of cobs and fiber per day to fuel its cellulosic plant. Long-term, POET hopes to add a cellulosic ethanol production component to each of its corn ethanol plants throughout the Corn Belt.
Watch for the December issue of Farm Journal to learn more about the cob harvesting equipment showcased at POET's Project Liberty Field Day.