Document Type


Publication Date



Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering | Industrial Engineering

Course Number and Title

TSM 416: Technology Capstone


Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering


Agricultural Systems Technology (Stoll, Eden); Industrial Technology (Jordan); Agricultural Systems Technology, Industrial Technology (Post)


Michael Anderson and Jacek A. Koziel

Problem Statement

o The ISU Beef Nutrition Research Farm cares for hundreds of cattle annually. The farm is a foundation for developing and studying animal husbandry practices. The results of practices used at the farm provide information to Iowa farmers via Extension for optimal health, growth, and profitability of cattle.

o A major part of the bovine diet is forage/roughage. A popular method of satisfying this nutritional requirement involves baling alfalfa hay to store and ration to cattle. Before baling can take place, the hay must be cut and allowed to dry. When the hay has reached an appropriate moisture content it may be baled. Alfalfa can typically be cut three to four times in a season.

o It is important to remove bales from the alfalfa field for three main reasons. First, removing bales from the field allows the alfalfa to grow for the next cutting. Secondly, some bales are stored under a roof to help maintain the nutritional value of the hay. Lastly, it is best to avoid driving over standing alfalfa. If the bales are left in the field, a caretaker would have to drive a loader over standing alfalfa, which damages the next cutting’s yield.

o There are commercially available bale movers and hay racks available to farmers. There are a wide variety of models, and all of them serve different purposes. Factors that determine which style of the trailer include: travel distance, capacity, speed, and affordability. These factors were helpful when the team created solutions to propose to the client.