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Research-and-Development Success of Special Combine Harvester for Broad Bean

2020-10-28

  Breakthrough is achieved in mechanized harvesting, removing the bottle neck of China’s development of food legume industry. Under the leadership of Chen Qiaomin, Director of National Food Legume Industry Research department of Technological Ecosystem and research fellow of harvest mechanization post expert, our food legume harvest machinery team succeeded in the research and development of a whole-feeding special combine harvester for broad bean and its mechanized harvest demonstration in Nantong, Jiangsu Province completed in a success. The new special harvester for broad bean well meets the demands with both significant improvement of productivity and big cuts in production cost, providing a strong support with the equipment to boost China’s food legume industry.  

  Broad bean growing takes up the largest share of planting area for food legume in China. It is practiced in many provinces, including Jiangsu, Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu, etc. and of great importance to the restructuring of cropping systems and raising farmer’s income. Broad bean seeds are big in size and irregular in shape, they reach maturity in different times, and have high percentage of stalks in the harvest. Therefore, harvesting has been the bottleneck restraining broad bean production. High rate of loss for broken seeds would result if using rice/wheat harvester on broad bean. Extremely, the mechanized harvest of the big-seed species is the hardest core of the demand. The status quo of broad bean production is that 50% of production cost is spent on harvest, relying heavily on high intensity human labors for manual operations of windrowing or pod-picking, threshing, and selection. With rural labor migrating to big cities, the biggest problem now hamstringing the growth of broad bean production is that commonly no human labors are available during harvest.

  Modern agricultural production calls for quality, cost-effectiveness, and productivity. We answer the call with better mechanized harvesting of broad bean to implement the rural revitalization strategy by serving goals of rural modernization and prosperity. Our food legume harvest mechanization team addressed themselves to solving the problems of harvesting big-seed species broad bean. After nearly 2 years of effort, they made a series of technological breakthroughs for the development of special combine harvester of broad bean, e.g. the special header, high-throughput low-loss threshing, and no-loss material conveyor. After several iterations of improvements, the optimal combination of mechanism and configurations were determined. The test results of less than 5% in overall rate of loss and break, less than 3% in rate of foreign object showed that our special broad bean harvester by far surpasses conventional rice/wheat harvester when working on Tongcanxian-6, which is a typical big-seed species of broad bean averaging 2.5 cm in length, 1.8 cm in broadness, and 195 g per 100 seeds in weight. It is estimated that adopting the special broad bean harvest is bringing an increase of productivity more than 20 times and 30% more per-area net income for farmers. The performance of the field demonstration is applauded by both agricultural technicians and farmers. More demonstration of field operations will boom farmer’s confidence in growing broad beans. Our special combine harvester for broad bean is surely to upgrade and boost China’s food legume industry.

  (Innovation team for produce and tea reports.)

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