DEVELOPMENT OF COTTON STALK HARVESTING MACHINE FOR EX-SITU APPLICATIONCh Sravan Kumar, K.V. Prakash, Sanjeeva Reddy, Sushilendra, P. Vijaykumar, D. Krishnamurty and M. Nemichandrappa
Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) is an important commercial crop in India. Annually 30.79 million tons of cotton stalk residue is being generated in India. In India, after harvesting cotton lint, cotton stalks are removed by either manual uprooting or cutting them using sickle above the ground level, which is a laborious operation and contributes to increase in crop production. After removing cotton stalks from field, farmers are burning cotton stalks in their fields. Burning of stalks increases CO2, CO, N2O and NOx in the atmosphere which leads to increase in air pollution. Instead of burning the stalks in fields, cotton stalks have the potential to be used for ex-situ application such as, raw material for briquettes due to its high lignocellulosic nature. Ex-situ utilization cotton stalk aids in generating additional income to farmers. In order to utilize the cotton stalk for ex-situ application a cotton stalk harvester was developed and evaluated in the field conditions which gave the following results; mean chopped length 122.7 mm, bulk density 197.86 kgm-3, fineness modulus 1.828, machine output of 1259.85 kgh-1, chopping height 118.6 mm field capacity 0.17 ha h-1, and fuel consumption of 7.54lh-1.