Feedstox buys AGCO equipment to reduce biomass harvesting costs

By Feedstox | May 22, 2012

Feedstox, a Kansas Alliance for Biorefining and Bioenergy company, has purchased seven new pieces of agricultural equipment for what it’s dubbing as the nation's most advanced harvesting fleet.

The equipment consists of two Challenger combine-baler combination units and five Challenger LB34BXD high-density pull-behind balers manufactured by AGCO Corp.

The machinery will be used to harvest biomass materials such as corn, wheat, corn stalks, wheat straw, switchgrass and miscanthus. KABB plans to lease the equipment to farmers, contractors and other parties involved in the harvesting of biomass materials.

"Very few of these models are on the global market today," said Todd Stucke, director of marketing hay and harvesting of AGCO. "It will be exciting to see the positive results of Feedstox making this equipment available for use."

The two combine-baler units are fully integrated, allowing grain harvest and residue baling to occur in a single pass through the field, significantly reducing time, labor, fuel usage and soil compaction or inclusion. The five pull-behind high-density balers produce large square bales weighing 10 to 20 percent more than standard bales.

This machinery is designed to help maintain the quality of yields and supports expanded acreage of crops with lower water and nitrogen input requirements on marginal lands.

"According to our calculations, the use of this equipment—along with our new- generation bale stacking, load and unloading equipment—has the potential to cut biomass harvesting costs by about 40 percent on a fully allocated cost basis,” said Jeff Roskam, CEO of KABB. “In a time when corn input costs to an ethanol plant are about $2 per gallon, cellulosic refiners using corn stover could cut input costs in one-half while reducing price pressure on corn supplies.”

The new equipment joins other fleet components, including two Stinger Stacker 6500 bale-handling trucks and a one-of-a-kind bale-picking truck from Kelderman Manufacturing.

The Kansas Alliance for Biorefining and Bioenergy is a nonprofit, industry led and directed Center of Innovation focused on identifying barriers and solutions in the area of bioenergy. Initial funding for KABB was a $4.1 million investment from the Kansas Bioscience Authority through the Centers of Innovation Program.

Feedstox is a subsidiary of KABB. Through a $4.8 million investment of ARRA funds administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce, Feedstox assembled a fleet of advanced equipment to improve the harvest, storage and transportation efficiency of biomass. Feedstox is dedicated to the advancement of biofuels and the effort to establish a consistent, reliable and renewable source of global bioenergy.