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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #165151


item Kornecki, Ted
item Raper, Randy
item Price, Andrew

Submitted to: Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/7/2004
Publication Date: 6/7/2004
Citation: Kornecki, T.S., Raper, R.L., Price, A.J. 2004. Effectiveness in terminating cover crops using different roller implements. In: Proceedings of the 26th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture, June 7-9, 2004, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Interpretive Summary: Cover crops have been identified as an essential part of conservation tillage systems. However to receive maximum benefits from cover crops, they must be managed appropriately. Rolling and crimping cover crops provide a thick mat on the soil surface to prevent weed emergence and increase soil available moisture. Also, rolling of cover crop in the direction of planting provides minimum interference for cash. Mechanical rollers typically have Round steel drums with attached blunt blades have historically been used to roll and crimp cover crops in South America. One reason they are useful is that they terminate cover crops without using herbicides. However, high vibrations at typical U.S. field operating speeds substantially limit the number of producers who are willing to adopt this technology. This research identifies vibration problems and termination rates of cover crops of three different roller designs. This work is intended to further improve killing rate of cover crops by using rollers at similar or increased operating speeds used in chemical applications.

Technical Abstract: Rollers may provide a valuable alternative to herbicides for terminating cover crops, however, research has shown that excessive vibration is caused by the roller passing over the cover crop. To avoid excessive vibration, users must limit their operational speed which reduces the number of producers willing to use this technology. To improve the roller's performance, three different roller designs were compared: (1) long straight bars, (2) elliptical bars, and (3) a smooth roller with an oscillating crimping bar. These rollers were tested at 3 speeds 1, 3, and 5 mph. The smooth roller with crimping arm produced the highest kill rate of the rye cover crop (33%). Rollers operating at high speed (5 MPH) produced significantly higher kill rate of the cover crop compared to low speed (1 MPH). Minimum vibrations were transferred to the tractor frame from the smooth roller with oscillating crimping arm. This study provided valuable information to improve effectiveness in mechanical killing of cover crops and gives design guidance to researchers to develop a mechanical roller.