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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #174275

Title: Performance Of Different Roller Designs In Terminating Rye Cover Crop And Reducing

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

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2006
Publication Date: 9/1/2006
Citation: Kornecki, T.S., Price, A.J., Raper, R.L. 2006. Performance of different roller designs in terminating rye cover crop and reducing vibration. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 22(5):633-641.

Interpretive Summary: Rolling and crimping of cover crops provide a valuable soil cover which prevents soil erosion, retards weed emergence, and increases available moisture. Also, rolling of cover crops in the row direction provides minimum interference with the planting of cash crops. However, current rollers cause significant vibration to be transferred to the tractor operator. This problem limits the number of producers who have been willing to adopt this technology. Two new rollers were tested against a traditional roller with straight bars. The new rollers generated much less vibration to the tractor while maintaining adequate levels of cover crop termination. This study showed that the new mechanical rollers could be designed and used in American conservation agricultural systems to terminate cover crops, thus protecting our environment and further improving soil quality.

Technical Abstract: Rollers have been used in conservation systems to terminate cover crops; however, excessive vibration levels generated by rollers do not allow adoption of this technology. To improve the roller's performance, two field experiments were conducted with different roller designs to terminate a cover crop (rye). In experiment 1, three-single sections of rollers: straight bars, elliptical bars, and a smooth roller with an oscillating crimping bar- were tested at speeds 1.6, 4.8, and 8 km/h. In experiment 2, a triple-section roller (commercial width) with straight bars and a smooth roller with an oscillating crimping bar- were tested at speeds 3.2, and 6.4 km/h. For single-section rollers, the highest kill rate of rye after 3 weeks from rolling was produced by the smooth roller with crimping bar (93%). Rollers operated at higher speed (8 km/h) produced a significantly higher kill rate of the cover crop compared to low speed (1.6 km/h). Minimum vibration levels measured on tractor's frame were generated by smooth roller with oscillating crimping arm. For Experiment 2, three weeks after rolling there was no significant difference in killing rates between roller types with cumulative kill rates of 95%; however, smooth roller with crimping bar transferred significantly lower vibration levels to the tractor's frame at both speeds.