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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #137715


item Raper, Randy

Submitted to: American Society of Agricultural Engineers Meetings Papers
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2002
Publication Date: 8/1/2002
Citation: Raper, R.L., Grift, T.E., Tekeste, M.Z. 2002. A portable tillage profiler for measuring subsoiling effectiveness. ASAE Paper No. 02-1138. ASAE, St. Joseph, MI. 10 pp. (Technical handout).

Interpretive Summary: Farmers using conservation tillage systems in soils that are susceptible to compaction may need to perform tillage to reduce the effects of soil compaction. They must also leave large amounts of crop residue on the soil surface to reduce erosion and get the full benefits of their conservation system. Reducing the amount of aboveground soil disruption could contribute to maintaining these large amounts of crop residues in place. A portable tillage profiler (PTP) has been developed that allows field evaluations of aboveground tillage disruption to be obtained. Belowground measurements can also be obtained after the loosened soil is removed. The PTP allows comparisons between different tillage systems to be obtained thus enabling farmers to choose tillage components that will minimally disrupt the soil surface while maximally loosening the compacted soil profile.

Technical Abstract: A portable tillage profiler (PTP) was constructed using a laser distance sensor, a linear actuator, a portable pc, and a lightweight aluminum frame that can quickly and accurately measure above- and belowground soil disruption caused by tillage. A laboratory experiment was conducted that determined that soil color did not detrimentally affect the PTP with expected vertical errors of 2.3 mm and horizontal errors of 0.6 mm being found. However, when pure white and black objects were examined, the errors increased to 4.2 mm vertically and 11 mm horizontally. This maximum error was established when attempting to measure the height and width of a wedge, which had a sharpened edge pointing vertically upward. The PTP was used in the NSDL soil bins to measure both above- and belowground soil disruption caused by two subsoiler shanks. The PTP gave results that enabled differences between the aboveground disruption caused by each subsoiler to be statistically established.