Submitted to: ASAE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2000
Publication Date: 7/28/2000
Citation: SIEMENS, M.C., WILKINS, D.E., WUEST, S.B. MANAGING AND DISTRIBUTING RESIDUE FOR CONSERVATION TILLAGE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST. ASAE ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL MEETING. ASAE PAPER 001005, 14 PP. ST. JOSEPH, MICH.: ASAE. 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: In the agricultural regions of the Pacific Northwest, adoption of reduced tillage systems lags that of the United States as a whole. The limited adoption of this practice in the Pacific Northwest is due not only to economic and agronomic concerns, but also to the lack of trouble free, reliable seeding equipment for planting into the heavy residue encountered in this region. A project was initiated to develop a residue management strategy that would improve hoe-type no-till drill performance. Three types of combines, various seedbed preparation methods and different seeder attachments were investigated on a plot that yielded 85 bu/ac of winter wheat and had approximately 9,000 lbs/ac of residue. Acceptable no-till drill performance in terms of stand count, plant growth and yield potential was obtained when standing stubble was less than 8 in. tall and the residue was uniformly distributed. Uniformly distributing residue was the most important factor for maximizing direct seed drill performance in heavy residue. Drill attachments such as a coulter and a patent pending residue management wheel yielded mixed and improved results respectively. As expected, when nearly all residue was removed drill performance was excellent. Chopping the residue into fine, 1.25 in. long pieces provided stand counts and seedling yield potential parameters equivalent to those of removing the residue completely. It is not known whether cost of the energy required for this operation is economically viable, but does provide some hope for an improved residue management strategy over what is currently available.