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Predicting spread patterns of centrifugal fertiliser spreaders

Abstract : Nowadays farmers recognize the importance of a correct and precise fertiliser application: non-uniform spread patterns cause extra pressure on the environment and might result in economic losses for the farmer. In Europe most spreading is done by centrifugal fertilizer spreaders but their spreading process is not easy to monitor and to control. To perform a precise fertilising farmers need proper tools to determine and evaluate the spread pattern at farm level. Therefore the Flemish Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) is exploring and developing a fast and accurate technique for measuring the spread pattern of conventional centrifugal spreaders. This method aims to be low cost and applicable at the farm level. Also, the proposed solution has to be mobile to the extent that the device can be built up on site to test several machines. The device should enable the adjustment of the spreader in such a way that a uniform spread pattern is obtained. Three approaches for evaluating the spread pattern are currently available: the collector tray method, the full modelling approach like the Discrete Element Method (DEM), and the hybrid approach that combines measurements and modelling. In this research the hybrid approach was applied: the spread pattern was predicted with a ballistic flight model based on the measurement of the horizontal outlet angle, the vertical outlet angle, the grain diameter, the grain density and the initial velocities. In a first step, a 2-dimensional imaging techniques were used with a small field of view (0.33m x 0.25m) to measure the horizontal outlet angle and the speed of the grains at different camera positions at the circumference of the disk. The vertical outlet angle and the mass distribution were measured with a cylindrical collector. The grains flying under the measurement unit were imaged using two different techniques: the high speed technique and a newly developed stroboscopic imaging technique. For the high speed technique a camera, type MotionXtra HG 100K (Roper Scientific, New Jersey, USA), was used. The stroboscopic technique combined a specially designed LED stroboscope with the Nikon D 100 camera. Overall the stroboscopic technique and the high speed technique were capable of measuring the outlet angle and the outlet speed. Small differences between the measurements with both techniques existed, but ultimately we were interested in the resulting spread pattern in the field. When comparing the simulated spread pattern measured in a spread hall, relative errors amounted up to 30%. Therefore, in the next phase of the research the 2-dimensional imaging techniques were replaced with a 3D stereovision technique, with a much larger field of view ( 1m x 1m) and improved motion estimation algorithms, resulting in lower relative errors between the simulated and the measured cylindrical spread pattern. In the final phase the small field of view with strobe as used in the first approach will be combined with the 3D stereovision set-up (and related algorithms) to further improve the simulation of the spread pattern.
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Contributor : Migration Prodinra <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 1:43:00 AM
Last modification on : Friday, September 11, 2020 - 3:12:12 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-02741531, version 1
  • PRODINRA : 276880


Bilal Hijazi, Jürgen Vangeyte, Simon Cool, Koen C. Mertens, David Nuyttens, et al.. Predicting spread patterns of centrifugal fertiliser spreaders. Conference of Agricultural Engineering, AgEng, Jul 2014, Zürich, Switzerland. ⟨hal-02741531⟩



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