Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: MANAGING AND DISTRIBUTING RESIDUE FOR DIRECT SEED SYSTEMS

Authors
item Siemens, Mark
item Wilkins, Dale
item Wuest, Stewart

Submitted to: Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 12, 1999
Publication Date: January 4, 2000
Citation: IN PROCEEDINGS OF THE NORTHWEST DIRECT SEED CROPPING SYSTEMS CONFERENCE AND TRADE SHOW. PP101-109. PENDLETON, OR, 4-6 JAN 2000.

Interpretive Summary: Crop residue on the soil surface makes uniform seedling establishment difficult in conservation tillage systems. In heavy crop residue, hoe-type no-till drills tend to rake the residue and cause drill plugging, causing operator frustration and reducing productivity. They also tend to cause large clumps of residue to form, which cover the seed row and choke out young seedlings. To address this issue, various methods of mechanically manipulating crop residue during and post harvest were investigated to determine if any of these methods would help improve no-till drill performance. Residue management methods evaluated included leaving tall standing stubble, chopping the residue into pieces of varying lengths, using chaff and straw spreader and choppers, disking, and removing the residue by baling. Results of the study showed that residue management method can significantly affect no-till drill stand establishment and early plant vigor. In systems where residue distribution was poor, high concentrations of residues resulted in poor stand establishment and early plant vigor due to piles of residue covering the seed row. In trials where residue was chopped into small pieces and spread uniformly, stand establishment and plant growth were good and similar to plots where residue was removed by baling. Growers can use these promising equipment selection and residue management techniques to help increase the profitability and therefore adoption of soil and water conservation farming practices.

Technical Abstract: Crop residue on the soil surface makes uniform seedling establishment difficult in conservation tillage systems. To address this issue, a drill attachment and various methods of mechanically manipulating crop residue during and post harvest were evaluated to determine their effect on residue distribution uniformity and no-till drill performance. The study was conducted in 2000 on a site that yielded 85 bu/ac of winter wheat in crop year 1999 and had approximately 9,000 lb/ac of residue. Residue management methods evaluated included leaving tall standing stubble, chopping the residue into pieces of varying lengths, using chaff and straw spreader and choppers, disking, and removing the residue by baling. Residue distribution and density was determined by collecting the residue that exited the combine. All plots in the randomized complete block designs were seeded using a hoe-type no-till drill with 12 in. row spacing. Drill performance was evaluated using a visual rating system based on quantity and health of plants that had emerged, the frequency and size of piles in the planted area, the percentage of row that was covered with residue and the ability of the drill to operate without plugging. Results of the study showed that without good residue distribution systems, post harvest residue density in the chaff row can exceed 20,000 lb/ac. In high residue densities, stand establishment was poor due to piles of residue covering the seed row and plants were not vigorous. In trials where residue was chopped into small pieces and spread uniformly, stand establishment and plant growth were good and similar to plots where residue was removed by baling. Residue management method can have a significant effect on no-till drill performance, however adequate performance can be obtained with proper residue management and equipment selection.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page