Student Project Improving Older Combines for Small Farms

University of Wisconsin-River Falls agricultural engineering and agricultural engineering technology students are researching ways to make older combines more efficient and improve profitability for smaller farmers. In a project funded by USDA, students developed two methods to potentially make a 1960s Oliver combine more efficient in harvesting with a new header configuration: a series of small brushes bolted to the head auger to help push the wheat grains toward the middle of the auger, and plastic sheeting to help fill the space underneath the auger and prevent loss of grains. “The students are redesigning old equipment to improve the productivity, efficiency, profitability and sustainability of small farms in support of local farming movement toward low carbon footprint circular food production systems,” assistant professor Bob Zeng explained.