Kernel processing score: determination with SilageSnap


  • Brian Luck
  • UW-Madison Biological Systems Engineering
Project Media

Adjustment of the kernel processor in a Self-Propelled Forage Harvester (SPFH) is
critical to high quality feed production. Particle size reduction of the corn kernels contained within chopped and processed corn silage makes the starch more available in the rumen, increasing digestion and in-turn increasing milk production. Increased milk production is the most common train of thought when considering the economic benefit of properly setting a kernel processor, but machinery management and efficiency metrics should be considered as well. Kernel processors utilize a high percentage of the power produced by the engine during corn silage harvest. A substantial amount of material is being forced through a very small gap, causing the power requirements to process the crop to increase substantially. While maintaining the smallest gap possible will produce smaller geometric mean particle sizes of the corn kernels, opening the kernel processor gap just 0.5 mm would reduce the load on the engine. This reduced load would allow the machine to move more quickly through the field or increase the fuel efficiency of harvest. Optimization of the kernel processor gap setting could take move the industry closer to a more efficient harvest.