Direct baling system may benefit biomass industry

By Anna Austin
Posted May 28, 2009, at 2:30 p.m. CST

Australia-based agriculture technology company Glenvar has developed a direct baling system which it said could be beneficial to the biomass and cellulosic ethanol industries.

The Glenvar Bale Direct System combines a conventional baler and a conventional combine, enabling grain growers to harvest and bale simultaneously. The combine tows the baler using a drawbar attached to the main drive axle. Residue exiting the rear of the combine is directed onto a conveyor and then fed into the baler, which is driven by a hydraulic motor powered from an independent hydraulic pump mounted on the combine.

The driver of the baler is able to obtain a sufficient view of the baling operation through the use of a mounted video camera which streams to a screen in the cabin.

Glenvar owner Graham Shields and managers Mike Shields and Kelly Shields have been developing and improving the baling system in Western Australia over the past seven years, according to Alan VanNahmen, product development manager. VanNahmen said he has had some involvement in the testing and marketing in the U.S. "Our tests have proven that the combination of a combine with large square baler can improve cellulosic biomass collection and improve material handling efficiencies," he said.

Comparisons have shown an extra 30 percent, up to 300 percent, more residue collected compared to windrowing and baling as separate operations, according to the company.

The system has been designed to be compatible with a wide range of combines and balers, and is priced at approximately $80,000 per unit.

In collaboration with Glenvar, Strauff Fiber LLC in Dayton, Wash., tested a Glenvar Bale Direct System during the 2008 wheat harvest. To view Strauff Fiber's video of the Glenvar Bale Direct System in use, click here. ( )

VanNahmen said Glenvar and its distributor are working to build additional units for other U.S. biomass collection entities.