Submitted to: Proceedings of the 11th Annual Western Australia No-Tillage Farmers Association Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/24/2003
Publication Date: 3/4/2003
Citation: SIEMENS, M.C., WILKINS, D.E., CORREA, R.F. RESIDUE MANAGERS IMPROVE CROP ESTABLISHMENT IN HEAVY RESIDUES. In Proceedings of the 11th Annual Western Australia No-Tillage Farmers Association Conference. pp. 9-12. Perth, Western Australia, 4-7 March 2003. Belmont, Western Australia:WANTFA.
Interpretive Summary: Adoption of conservation tillage systems in the Pacific Northwest lags behind that of the United States, due in part to the lack of trouble-free seeding equipment for planting into heavy crop residue. Commercial shank- and disc- type no-till drills were developed for low residue conditions and for crops planted in wide rows. In heavy crop residue or when row spacing is narrow, shank-type drills tend to rake the residue and cause drill plugging. Disc-type openers are prone to pushing the crop residue into the seed zone or they may ride over the crop residue and deposit seed on the soil surface which results in poor stand establishment. To overcome this problem, an attachment was developed to improve the residue handling capabilities and performance of hoe-type no-till drills. The patented device (US 6,345,671) is designed to attach to the tool bar of hoe-type no-till drills and positioned next to the furrow opening shank. When seeding, the ground driven rubber fingered wheel pins crop residue to the soil surface, preventing it from building up on the furrow opener and seed tube. The invention was evaluated in 2000 and 2001 in northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington. Results from these experiments showed that depending on residue treatment, the residue management wheel was found to significantly increase seedling stand count of winter Canola by 44-53%, spring barley by 24%, mustard by 41%, lupin by 9%, spring wheat by 15-34%, and winter wheat by 17-20% as compared to the standard drill. Use of the residue management wheel also increased the yield of spring barley by 3%, mustard by 5%, lupin by 8%, and spring wheat by 6-7%. By increasing stand establishment and crop yield, utilizing this technological development will help increase the profitability therefore adoption of soil and water conservation farming practices.
Technical Abstract: Adoption of conservation tillage in the Pacific Northwest lags that of the United States in part due to the lack of reliable seeding equipment for planting into the high residue densities encountered in this region. To overcome this problem, a drill attachment was developed to manage heavy residue next to the furrow opening tines of hoe-type no-till drills. The patented device consists of a fingered rubber wheel, a rubber inner ring, and a spring-loaded arm which pivots about vertical and horizontal axis. The performance of the device was evaluated in terms of stand establishment and yield in Oregon and Washington. Test site locations varied significantly in the amount and condition of crop residue and were planted to a variety of different crops. As compared to the standard drill without the attachment, use of the residue management wheel was found to increase the stand establishment of small seeded crops such as Canola and mustard by over 40 percent and large seeded crops such as wheat and barley by about 17 percent. Increases in stand establishment were attributed to fewer piles of residue covering the seed row. Use of the device also showed trends to increase crop yield. Increases in yield of up to 15 percent were found in 16 of the 19 trials conducted, however these differences were generally not significant. Although the residue management wheel costs $300 per unit to fabricate, using the device may be economically feasible if it results in significant improvements in both stand establishment and yield.