Submitted to: International Soil Tillage Research Organization Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/28/2006
Publication Date: 8/28/2006
Citation: Kornecki, T.S., Price, A.J., Raper, R.L. 2006. Managing cover crops in conservation agriculture using rollers/crimpers. In: Sustainability - Its Impact on Soil Management and Environment, Proceedings of 17th International Conference of the International Soil Tillage Research Organization, August 28 - September 3, 2006, Kiel, Germany. p. 483-489. Interpretive Summary: Roller/crimper field equipment have been used by some U.S producers to roll down and crimp cover crops but high vibrations generated by the original straight-bar roller design limit the adaptation of this technology. A 14-ft wide smooth roller with crimping bar was developed to determine roller’s termination rate, level of vibrations generated at higher speed, and how this new concept impacts cotton yield in comparison the original straight bar roller. After three weeks from rolling, both rollers effectively terminated rye at rates of 94% and 97% for 2004 and 2005 growing seasons, respectively. The new smooth roller/crimper concept transferred much lower vibration levels to the tractor’s frame than the straight bar roller. In 2005, we added a modified smooth roller with crimping bar for testing. This new roller further reduced vibrations on the tractor frame by half in comparison with the initial smooth roller with crimping bar, which is below “very uncomfortable” vibration limit set by International Standards Office. New roller design effectively terminated rye and maintained cotton yield compared to the original straight bar roller and herbicide. In 2004 and 2005 growing season cotton yield was similar for all roller types. Although, the new smooth roller with crimper considerably reduced vibrations and effectively terminated cover crop, a future work should be involved in simplifying roller components to increase its durability.
Technical Abstract: Rollers may provide a viable alternative to herbicides for terminating cover crops, however, excessive vibration generated by rollers and transferred to tractors hinders adoption of this technology in the US. To avoid excessive vibration, producers must limit their operational speed, which increases time and cost of rolling. The effect of speed on cover crop (rye, Secale cereale L.) termination rate and vibration level was tested on different roller designs in 2004 and 2005. In 2004 two roller designs: a triple-section roller (4-row, 4.1 m width) with straight bars and a smooth roller with an oscillating crimping bar were tested at speeds of 3.2 and 6.4 km h-1. In 2005, in addition to the two rollers, a smooth roller with modified cam was added for comparison. In 2004, three weeks after rolling, slightly higher rye termination rates resulted from the roller with long straight bars (96%) in comparison with the smooth roller (94%). Despite these differences, both rollers effectively terminated rye prior to planting without herbicides. In 2005, three weeks after rolling, the same termination rate of 97% was found for all rollers. Both smooth rollers with crimping bar designs transferred significantly lower vibration levels to the tractor’s frame than the roller with long straight bars. Vibration at tractor frame generated by the modified smooth roller were half of the vibrations caused by the original smooth roller and one third of the vibration caused by the straight bar roller.