The big question surrounding cellulosic ethanol is how we're going to harvest the feedstock. Vermeer has introduced two solutions—605 Super M Cornstalk Special Round Baler and the CX770 Cob Harvester.
The Cornstalk Special baler is the result of tractor seat common sense done by Eric Woodford, a custom baler based in Minnesota. With much experience in the field baling cornstalks, Woodford invented the powered windguard featured on this machine. This component sits above the baler pick-up to evenly feed the crop residue in the baler. The Cornstalk special baler also features a dual-stage belt tightening system and the Bale EXpert monitor, which displays special features to handle this material: three bale shape sensors, scale system and optional moisture sensing.
The CX770 Cob Harvester is still in the prototype phase for Vermeer, but this will be the offering for farmers who may live within a 50-mile radius of cellulosic plants preferring corn cobs, like POET's Project Liberty in Emmetsburg, IA. The CX770 is a wagon-style cob collection system that provides one-pass harvesting for grain and cobs by trailing the combine. The company is working to make this piece of equipment compatible with major combine models, and currently the only prototype is in testing in Texas.