Nebraska, USA-based farmers and equipment developers FarmMax have debuted the Interceptor, multi-cropping hemp harvesting technology for flowers, seed and stalks.
Designed to attach to the John Deere S Series combine (2012-2020), the Interceptor snips the hemp flowers which are then transported to an attached wagon while seed goes into a grain tank and the fiber is left to ret in the field for later collection.
By pairing the Interceptor with a drying system, flowers are efficiently harvested without accumulating dirt, mold and bacteria associated with hang-drying, with the final material preserved within hours of harvest instead of days or weeks. The system also eliminates the loss of harvested material due to repeat handling.
“We are farmers. We understand the problems and pressures of row crop production at large scale,” the company said in a statement. “We created the Interceptor to enable farmers to utilize a regular combine for hemp with an application that would not interfere with the need to harvest other crops.”
Farmers can easily switch the configuration to harvest corn, soybeans or hemp, the company said.
Ty and Jay Stukenholtz, FarmMax’ owners, have been designing specialized harvesting equipment for difficult to capture crop material since 1999. Graduates of the University of Nebraska in agricultural engineering, they previously designed harvesting technology for one of the largest specialized seed companies in the U.S. that produces hundreds of varieties of wildflowers and native grasses. The company also has developed corn cob harvesting equipment for value-added products such as biofuels and biochemicals.
This story was corrected to indicate the Interceptor attaches to Deere S Series combines and not to Deere Tractors – ed.