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Development of a mechanical aid for the harvesting of sugarcane without prior burning


Currently, total or partial mechanization would seem to be the sole option for the harvesting of sugarcane, both from the ergonomic as well as the economic point of view and, principally, from the legal and environmental point of view, since only mechanical cutting makes harvesting without prior burning viable, a fact which in turn will make the profitable use of the straw viable. Thus, this work aims to develop an alternative technology geared to the harvesting of sugarcane, without prior burning, which can operate on sloping terrains and minimize the impact of unemployment in the rural environment caused by conventional mechanized harvesting. The equipment assists the manual harvest, carrying out base cut operations, trimming of stalk tops, removal of leaves and delivery of the stalks to the storage carrier, leaving to the worker the function of handling the stalks after the base cut, passing through the trimming of the tops on to the straw stripping unit. In order to evaluate the equipment, in field and laboratory conditions, a prototype will be built which will simultaneously harvest three rows of sugarcane. The factors to be evaluated will be: 1) determination of the steerability of the equipment, as well as its stability against toppling; 2) quantitative evaluation of the losses of raw material and its technological quality; and 3) comparative economic analysis of operational cost and investment requirement. Based on the analyses, possible modifications will be suggested so as to obtain a commercial piece of equipment with an accessible cost which can be used for the harvesting of sugarcane. (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa FAPESP Magazine about the research grant:
Versatile machine 
Una máquina versátil 
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