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POET’s Project Liberty Field Day Draws Crowd to See Cob Harvesting in Action

Corn Cob pilepoet-field-day-nov-09-071.jpgHundreds of farmers, government officials and others traveled to the POET Project Liberty field day in Emmetsburg, IA, yesterday, to see new corn cob harvesting equipment in action. Cobs will be the primary feedstock for POET’s 25-million-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol facility, which will be attached to the company existing corn ethanol plant in Emmetsburg. The company expects to begin commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production before the end of 2011.

Sixteen equipment manufacturers have been working with POET and 14 Emmetsburg-area farmers to test cob collection equipment, and were at the field day to talk with farmers about their results.

Case IH, for example, demonstrated its Axial-Flow 8120 combine and biomass harvesting equipment at the field day. The biomass cart is attached to the combine and works as a system with all 88 Series and Axial Flow combines. The system controls are integrated into the combine’s cab for on-the-go unloading.

This cart can be quickly attached and detached from the combine for fast conversion to other crops or harvest modes. It includes an adjustable cleaning system to tailor the cob/stover sample.

Redekop Manufacturing, Saskatoon, SK, has been testing six of its cob cart units with Emmetsburg farmers. The C180 Cob Cart holds two loads from the company’s H165 Cob Harvester while on-the-go. The cart’s conveyor unloads cobs from the cart to create tapered piles of cobs. The cart requires only a low HP tractor and is powered by the tractor’s PTO and hydraulics.

AGCO was at the field day to discuss a one-pass system that combines its combine technology and a Hesston large square baler to collect and package clean corn cobs, husks and leaves into 3x4-foot square bales.

John Deere demonstrated its corn cob biomass harvesting equipment. Dean Acheson, manager, Solutions Development, John Deere Agriculture & Turf Division, said that Deere has been working on a flexible prototype that will not slow down harvest. Farmers have indicated that they do not want to be slowed down in the field if they harvest cobs in addition to grain.

Representatives from POET were on hand to talk about corn cob procurement contracts. These contracts will be for three- four- and five-year terms. The contract price for cobs will average $55 per dry ton equivalent, F.O.B. POET Project Liberty in Emmetsburg. Corn cobs will represent an entirely new revenue stream for farmers.

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