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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Energy Reduction in Sweep Tillage Systems

Authors
item Burt, Eddie - RETIRED ARS
item Johnson, Clarence - RETIRED AUBURN UNIVERSITY
item Morrison Jr, John
item Bailey, Alvin - RETIRED ARS
item Way, Thomas

Submitted to: Soil Dynamics International Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 5, 2001
Publication Date: January 29, 2001
Citation: Burt, E.C., Johnson, C.E., Morrison Jr, J.E., Bailey, A.C., Way, T.R. 2001. Energy reduction in sweep tillage systems. In: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Soil Dynamics, March 26-30, 2000, Adelaide, Australia. p. 97-104.

Interpretive Summary: Farmers and other producers use conservation farming systems to maintain substantial amounts of crop residues on the soil surface to reduce runoff and soil erosion and to increase water infiltration into soil and increase soil organic matter. Conservation farming systems are rapidly increasing in popularity. As these changes take place, there is an obvious need to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the more common conservation farming tools. Chisels are vertical tillage shanks which till the soil in deep, narrow patterns, and sweeps are V-shaped tillage components which perform shallow tillage over broad widths. Tillage implements equipped with chisels and sweeps have an advantage over many conservation tillage tools because they maximize the residue left on the surface for erosion control while providing the tillage necessary for weed control and seedbed preparation. Two optimal arrangements of chisels relative to sweeps were determined. In one arrangement, coulters, which are rolling disks, were operated at particular positions relative to chisels and sweeps, and the energy required to pull the implement through the soil was as low as 55% of the energy needed for a more conventional arrangement of the components. The second arrangement permitted passage of sweeps through heavy crop residue without problems of residue clogging the machine. Adoption of these tillage implement configurations is expected to reduce energy requirements for tillage and to reduce clogging of implements in heavy residue conditions, thereby improving profitability for agricultural producers while conserving soil.

Technical Abstract: Conservation farming systems are rapidly increasing in popularity. As these changes take place, there is an obvious need to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the more common conservation farming tools. Chisel-sweep systems have an advantage over many conservation tillage tools because they maximize the residue left on the surface for erosion control while providing the tillage necessary for weed control and seedbed preparation. The accumulation of residue within the confines of the tillage tool is a common problem. The proper clearance vertically between the soil surface and the supporting framework for the tillage device is necessary for the passage of residue. A coulter directly ahead of the wingtips of each leading sweep, operating at the same depth as the sweep, reduced draft of the sweep-coulter system up to 45% as compared to the draft of a sweep plus coulter system with the coulter operating directly ahead of the sweep center. Coulters directly ahead of the wingtips of sweeps permit passage of the sweeps through heavy residue without problems of residue clogging, although there is a tendency for more residue buildup on the sweep shanks when wingtip coulters are used.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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