Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Agricultural Engineering


Many variables have to be taken into consideration, along with design criteria, if a plant stem cutter is to perform satisfactorily. Some plant characteristics which affect the energy required to cut plant stems are: (a) moisture content of the plant, (b) maturity of the plant, and (c) the plant variety. Some important mechanical variables for the design engineer include: (a) clearance between the cutting blade and the stationary edge, (b) the sharpness of the cutting blade, and (c) the width of cut. The design and subsequent performance of an elliptical cutter would be dependent upon these variables and operating variables such as cutter rotational speed and forward speed. Therefore, the objectives of this study were: 1. Develop an elliptical rotary cutter with replaceable cutting surfaces to replace the sickle on a row crop forage harvester. 2. Evaluate the performance of an elliptical rotary cutter for cutting corn plant stems. 3. Determine the influence of plant characteristics and principal operating variable of the cutter on peak torque requirements for cutting corn plant stems.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Forage plants -- Harvesting

Forage plants -- Harvesting -- Machinery



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University