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Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

Growing Oklahoma

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

Growing Oklahoma


Design, performance prediction and validation of a seed orienting corn planter

a, Adrian Kollerb, Michael Buserb, Randal Taylorb, Paul Wecklerb, and William Raunc

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa; OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringb; OSU Plant and Soil Sciencesc

Abstract: Investigations into active control of corn canopy architecture through manipulation of seed orientation at planting have shown that specific seed orientations produce highly aligned leaf azimuths. Data obtained from hand planted field trials with across-row oriented leaves show that such canopies intercept more light and ultimately produce higher yields. This study was conducted to investigate the feasibility of mechanized seed orientation through the concept of part orientation by pushing. 3D-scans of 15 “medium flat” kernels of the hybrids DKC-6342, DKC-6346, P0902HR and P1162HR have been computationally analyzed to determine stable seed orientations when subjected to pushing. These predicted results were compared to data obtained in bench tests. The concept was then refined and integrated into a prototype planter based on a standard offthe-shelf row unit. The prototype was first tested in a soil bin at laboratory conditions and then in the field. Because field tests do not allow measurement of seed orientations directly greenhouse studies of the relationship between seed orientation and seed leaf azimuth distributions were conducted to assess the feasibility of an indirect postemergence performance measure. The computational model was able to predict seed orientation by pushing very accurately. The analysis and subsequent bench unit and prototype tests revealed that orientation performance is dependent on seed shape with the kernels of DKC-6342 being the most and those of P1162HR the least suitable. Soil bin and field data confirmed that at least parity between seed and ground velocity must be achieved in order to maintain orientation during transition from the orientation mechanism to the ground. The greenhouse studies led to the conclusion that seed-to-leaf azimuth distributions can be described by von Mises models. Due to the specific design of the orienter, the shape of the kernels, and the observed seed-to-leaf azimuth properties the measureable seed leaf azimuth distribution in the field is expected to be a von Mises mixture containing four modes. The complexity of such a mixture inhibits the accurate, indirect determination of seed orientation performance in the field. Full Text


Effect of drying temperature, size reduction, propane extraction, and storage temperature on the quality and shelf life of cilantro (Coriandrum sativum L.)

Jasreen Sekhona, Carol Jonesa, Danielle Bellmera, Timothy Bowsera, and Niels Manessb

OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa; OSU Plant and Soil Scienceb

Abstract: Cilantro dried at 40°C and 60°C was ground and separated into large flakes (LF), small flakes (SF), and coarse powder (CP) and subjected to continuous flow liquid propane extraction at 21-25°C. Extracted and unextracted samples were packaged in aluminum foil laminate packages and stored in a freezer (-20°C), a refrigerator (4°C), at room temperature (18-30°C) and at elevated temperature (40°C) for a period of twelve months. The effect of drying temperature, particle size, propane extraction, and storage conditions on color (L*, a*, b*, chroma, hue angle, and browning index), volatile composition, and fatty acid composition was evaluated. Major volatiles present in dried cilantro were E-2-tetradecenal, dodecanal, E-2-dodecenal, and tetradecanal. Linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid were the major fatty acids found in cilantro. While percent oil (%) in samples dried at 60°C was lower than those dried at 40°C, bulk density, volatile concentration, and color values were higher. No significant effect (p > 0.05) of drying temperature was observed on fatty acid composition. Volatile composition was greater in SF or LF as compared to CP. However, fatty acid concentration was higher in CP followed by LF and SF. Solvent extraction with propane lead to a positive change in color values and a decrease in volatile composition, oil content (%), and fatty acid composition. There was a significant (p < 0.05) decrease in all volatile compounds, except nonane, with increase in storage time. During storage, color quality and retention of volatile compounds in dried samples was dependent on the particle size of the sample and the storage temperature. During storage the concentration of linoleic acid and α- linolenic acid decreased in the first three to four months and then became stable. The stability of fatty acids in storage was dependent on particle size, solvent extraction, and storage temperature. Full Text


Hydrogeophysics of gravel-dominated alluvial floodplains in eastern Oklahoma

Ronald Millera, Garey Foxb, Daniel Stormb, Todd Halihanc, Chad Penna, and Sheryl Tuckera

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa; OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringb; OSU School of Geologyc

Abstract: Floodplains are important landscape features that are created over time by their resident streams. Contained within the floodplain, and unseen beneath the surface, are abandoned fluvial structures which remain in place as the stream migrates. Such structures include bars, bank deposits and old stream beds (paleochannels); these contribute to heterogeneity within the floodplain that can affect the flow of alluvial groundwater. Where there are coarse, high hydraulic conductivity sediments with a floodplain, the distribution can be either limited or broad-scale, and therefore can affect the movement of water either through “preferential flow paths” (PFPs) which may be limited spatially but are capable of conducting water at higher rates than surrounding material, or through “high-flow domains” which conduct water at high rates over broad areas. PFPs and high –flow domains may connect the stream directly to remote parts of the floodplain, or connect the floodplain surface to the alluvial aquifer and thus can affect the stream environment in significant ways, including transporting water and possibly water-borne constituents through the floodplain into or away from the stream. Additionally, floodplain heterogeneity can affect streambank stability by producing seeps that contribute to bank instability. The floodplains of the Ozark ecoregion of Oklahoma typically feature a silty topsoil layer (0.1 to 2 m) overlying a thick gravel subsoil. Previous work utilizing a network of monitoring wells at one Oklahoma site found that PFPs within the gravel vadose zone affect the lateral distribution of a tracer (Rhodamine WT). Full Text


Predicting erodibility of cohesive streambeds and streambanks due to fluvial and seepage forces

Abdul-sahib Al-Madhhachia, Avdhesh Tyagib, Garey Foxa, Rifat Bulutb, and Gregory Hansonc

OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa; OSU Civil and Environmental Engineeringb; Stillwater, OK, USDA-ARS Hydraulics Laboratoryc

Abstract: Scientists and engineers need to predict the erosion rate of cohesive soils due to fluvial and seepage forces. However, currently mechanistic approaches are unavailable for incorporating seepage forces into the commonly used excess shear stress model. A more mechanistically based detachment model, the Wilson Model, is proposed in this research for modeling the erosion rate of soils using the hydraulic analysis of a Jet Erosion Test (JET). Seepage forces were incorporated into a mechanistic fundamental detachment rate model to improve predictions of the erosion rate of cohesive soils. A new miniature version of the JET device (“mini” JET) and flume tests were conducted on two cohesive soils (silty sand and clayey sand) to derive the Modified Wilson Model parameters (b0 and b1) in order to investigate the influence of seepage on the soil erodibility. The “mini” JETs were also performed on a horizontal experimental setup to mimic a streambank case. The “mini” JET established equivalent predictions of the soil erodibility to the larger original laboratory JET for the two cohesive soils. The original and “mini’ JETs can provide equivalent results to flume experiments for deriving the Wilson Model parameters b0 and b1 as well as to the excess shear stress parameter, kd. Seepage forces had a non-uniform influence on the derived parameters (b0 and b1) as functions of the hydraulic gradient and dry density. The influence of seepage forces can be predicted using JET techniques by incorporating the known seepage gradients into the Modified Wilson Model parameters (b0 and b1) from performed JETs without seepage on streambeds and streambanks. The Wilson Model and/or Modified Wilson Model is advantageous in being a more mechanistic, fundamentally based erosion model as compared to the excess shear stress model; the proposed model can be used in the place of the excess shear stress model with parameters that can be estimated using existing JET techniques; proposed model can be used to predict and account for additional forces or factors such as turbulence, roughness, seepage forces, material soil orientation (i.e. streambed versus streambank), root effects, negative pore water pressure effects, etc. Full Text


In situ sensing of leaf cuticular wax, pecan yield and pecan leaf nitrogen concentration

James Hardina, Carol Jonesa, Timothy Bowsera, Paul Wecklera, and Niels Manessb

OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa; OSU Plant and Soil Scienceb

Abstract: Foliar nitrogen concentration is used to assess tree health and nutritional needs. The current protocol for measuring foliar nitrogen in pecan trees is to hand harvest and dry leaf samples, which are then sent to a lab for chemical analysis. In addition to being a time and labor intensive endeavor, expense makes it prohibitive to sample every tree in the orchard. Chapter three reports the results of research using a hand held chlorophyll meter used to take field measurements of leaf nitrogen. In addition, a protocol to extract foliar nitrogen concentration from images taken from a high resolution visible and near infrared camera within the orchard was developed. Accurate yield estimates of pecans throughout the growing season are important for optimizing production, managing alternate bearing behavior, and for marketing and business purposes. Yield estimates are currently obtained by scouting an orchard and counting nuts on a subsample of the trees. Estimates are inaccurate and due to the effort involved, yield data are generally not obtained on every tree. Chapter four documents empirical research on the backscatter response of microwaves to pecan tree canopy components: nuts, secondary branches, and leaves. Microwave energy can penetrate into the canopy of trees to interact with objects hidden from view. The objective of this investigation was to assess if short-range backscattered microwaves from the canopy of a pecan tree can be used to sense nut yield. Baseline results from this investigation will be used to develop future experiments to be conducted under field conditions. Furthermore, if successful in pecans, the technology has potential for extension to other orchard fruit and nut crops Full Text


Determining the applicability of the triangular distribution in describing agricultural process energy and mass flows

Luis Serranoa, Scott Fraziera, Carol Jonesa, Timothy Bowsera, and Mark Paytonb

OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa; OSU Statisticsb

Abstract: The beginnings of this research can be traced back when the author encountered an issue while working on a biofuel Industrial Ecology (IE) project. Industrial Ecology studies processes from a cradle to grave perspective, analyzing the environmental impact, energy and mass flows involved in a process. One of the main goals of IE is to change a process from a linear system into a closed loop system. Another goal of IE is to assimilate a concept that is able to minimize waste production while maintaining the process’s productivity level. However, to achieve this goal, a significant amount of time, money and work has to be invested (Baas 2007). While working on the biofuel IE project , the author used a Life Cycle Assesment (LCA) tool to map the energy and mass units that were going in and out of a given process (Figure 1). This LCA tool has been used in previous research (Lund, 2008) to analyze the energy, waste, and materials involved in the ethanol process. In this study, the author was trying to describe processes related with biofuel production from feedstock. However, after a short meeting with Dr. Scott Frazier from the Biosystems Department at Oklahoma State University on January 10th , 2011, the author was advised that the LCA tool was inefficient and time consuming due to its lack of boundaries when tracing energy and material input amounts backwards. This advice was also confirmed by author Biswas (2008) and the International Energy Agency (2000), suggesting in their articles that the LCA tool needs to be limited in order to produce reliable and accurate results. Full Text


Effects of a hydraulic pressure system and grooved rollers on an in-field sweet sorghum press

Clinton Cosgrovea, Raymond Huhnkea, Danielle Bellmera, John Soliea, and Paul Wecklera

OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa

Abstract: There is a clear and present need for renewable energy sources. The Renewable Fuel Standard states that 36 billion gallons (136.3 billion liters) of the annual liquid fuels used in the United States must come from renewable sources by 2022, with 21 billion gallons (79.5 billion liters) being derived from sources other than corn starch (US Government, 2007). The United States and the European Union have both committed themselves to increasing renewable and sustainable energy sources (US Government, 2007; European Commission, 2008). Examples of renewable and sustainable energy sources include solar power, windmills, hydroelectric dams, and biofuels. Biofuels have been of particular interest in recent years, especially given that worldwide oil demand was greater than the available supply in 2006 and 2007 (EIA, 2009). It is unlikely that a single source of biofuels will completely replace petroleum, but a diversified portfolio of biofuel sources can offset the need for petroleum. Full Text


Stability of root reinforced streambanks: Numerical modeling and laboratory experiments

Rachel Canciennea, Garey Foxa, Glenn Browna, and Michael Smolena

OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa

Abstract: Several mechanisms contribute to streambank failure including fluvial toe undercutting, reduced soil shear strength by increased soil pore-water pressure, and seepage erosion. Recent research has suggested that seepage erosion of noncohesive soil layers undercutting the banks may play an equivalent role in streambank failure to increased soil pore-water pressure. However, past research has primarily been limited to laboratory studies of nonvegetated banks. The objective of this research was to utilize the Bank Stability and Toe Erosion Model (BSTEM) to determine the importance of seepage undercutting relative to bank shear strength, bank angle, soil pore-water pressure, and root reinforcement. BSTEM was used to simulate two streambanks: Little Topashaw Creek (LTC) and Goodwin Creek (GC) in northern Mississippi. Simulations included three bank angles (70o to 90o ), four pore-water pressure distributions (unsaturated, two partially saturated cases, and fully saturated), six distances of undercutting (0 to 40 cm), and thirteen different vegetation conditions (root cohesions from 0.0 to 15.0 kPa). A relative sensitivity analysis suggested that BSTEM was approximately three to four times more sensitive to water table position than root cohesion or depth of seepage 8 undercutting. Seepage undercutting becomes a prominent bank failure mechanism on unsaturated to partially saturated streambanks with root reinforcement, even with undercutting distances as small as 20 cm. Consideration of seepage undercutting is less important under conditions of partially to fully saturated soil pore-water conditions. The distance at which instability by undercutting became equivalent to instability by increased soil-pore water pressure decreased as root reinforcement increased, with values typically ranging between 20 and 40 cm at LTC and between 20 and 55 cm at GC. This research depicts the baseline conditions at which seepage undercutting of vegetated streambanks needs to be considered for bank stability analyses. Full Text


Economics of on-farm ethanol production using sweet sorghum

Prashant Belea, Raymond Huhnkea, Danielle Bellmera, and Timothy Bowsera

OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa

Abstract: There is a growing need for petroleum throughout the world. As the economy grows, the need for energy grows. Oil has been the major source of energy in the United States (U.S.). The availability of oil at a low price left the research and interest in an alternative fuel source far behind over the years. Recent geopolitical and economical changes have led to a growing need for an alternative fuel source, preferably a renewable one. Full Text


Effects of feed composition and gasification parameters on product gas from a pilot scale fluidized bed gasifier

Bruno Catenia, Raymond Huhnkea, Danielle Bellmera, Timothy Bowsera, Arland Johannesb, and LLoyd Caldwell

OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineeringa; OSU Chemical Engineeringb

Abstract: Energy is economically crucial for every industrialized country’s economy. For a large majority, the dependence on foreign oil has been an important concern, particularly since the 1970s when an oil shortage generated a near crisis situation for all countries in the entire developed world. Today more than ever and despite all the protections taken to prevent a highly fluctuating market, international politics are affected by this aspect of foreign dependence. The present effects of terrorism and instability of the large world oil reserve countries o f the Middle East raise further concerns about the supply stability. Chaotic markets lead to high prices and slowing the economy in developed countries. In the rural United States, like here in Oklahoma, the effect of the production decline has already impacted the economy. Major oil companies are leaving the state, relocating to bigger cities to manage economic difficulties. The recent discovery of an increase in greenhouse gases levels, especially CO2 , in the earth’s atmosphere since the industrial revolution, raises concerns regarding the quality of life for future generations. In order to stabilize the concentration of these gases in the atmosphere and prevent potential interferences with climate change, 169 nations ratified the Kyoto protocol and committed to reduce their emission of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion. Full Text