Grain Cart Pathways and Compaction

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Gradert, Cody
Hagenow, Garett
Steinbeck, Jacob
Kent, Kyle
Vanstrom, Joseph
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Koziel, Jacek
Professor Emeritus
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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A typical field is compacted by wheel tracks on 80-90% of its area (NRCS National Soil Survey Center, 2011). This results in reduced yields, reduced soil health, and reduced water infiltration. Creating a plan to limit compaction could provide numerous benefits to farmers everywhere. John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group (ISG) is located in Urbandale and is responsible for developing precision agriculture hardware and software for John Deere (Ciha et al., 2017). Farmers all over the world use these products. ISG would like to know more about the effect on yield and profit that compaction from grain carts is responsible for. There are some statistics pertaining to yield loss from previous compaction studies that will be used to make an inference based on the amount of compaction that is found through collecting in the field samples. ISG wants some insight into this problem because of the potential for completely changing the way grain carts are operated in fields. Minimizing compaction is important because of the harm that it can cause to yield. Compaction affects farmers across the globe because there is a need to drive equipment through fields in order to complete necessary work. The potential to educate farmers with a new philosophy that could arise from this project could help to increase overall production of grain. It is unknown if other companies are looking into this problem. However, there are many scientists in the academic world that have spent their entire careers trying to solve the problem of compaction. A solution to directing grain cart traffic could also have an effect on how other field operations are performed as well.