Pneumatic Conveyance Technology for Native Seed Harvesters

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2006-33610-17326
Agency Tracking Number: 2005-00100
Amount: $296,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
100 Poly Drive, Suite 155, Billings, MT, 59101
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Lee Arbuckle
 (406) 294-2995
Business Contact
 Maggie Arbuckle
Title: Treasurer/Secretary
Phone: (406) 657-2995
Research Institution
Native grass seed is important to restoration or reclamation of burned, mined or otherwise disturbed lands. The native seed industry is growing rapidly to meet increasing demand for more seed species in commercial quantities. However, the morphology of the seed of many important species of native grasses makes them difficult to harvest resulting in limited supplies and high prices. Combines and other conventional harvesters such as strippers are often unable to effectively carry out one or more of the key steps of harvest: 1) dislodgement, 2) separation, 3) conveyance, and 4) offloading. This creates an opportunity for new devices such as the pneumatic conveyance system on the Arbuckle Native Seedster that improve seed handling efficiency and overall productivity. The Arbuckle Native Seedster patented technology achieves a high level of seed recovery by plucking seed with almost no impurities thus simultaneously carrying out the first two steps-dislodgement and separation. This makes development of an effective system to convey and off-load harvested seed crucial to development of a high productivity continuous flow native grass seed harvester. The premise of the PCS is that the increased seed flow is most effectively handled by a system of pneumatic conveyance that seamlessly engages dislodged native grass seed in flight and conveys it to a bag. This is because many species of native grass seed have seed morphology that often coheres and clogs if it comes to a stop. Pickup velocity of air flow is several times the saltation velocity that moves seed already in flight.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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