Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #229840

Title: Effects of Transmission Speed Selection on Equipment Performance during Tillage Operations

item Kichler, Corey
item Raper, Randy
item Schwab, Eric

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/30/2008
Publication Date: 6/30/2008
Citation: Kichler, C.M., Fulton, J.P., Raper, R.L., Zech, W.C., Mcdonald, T.P., Schwab, E.B. 2008. Effects of Transmission Speed Selection on Equipment Performance during Tillage Operations. In: Proceedings of the ASABE Annual International Meeting. CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: Rising fuel costs are resulting in lower profit margins for farmers. Optimizing tractor performance during tillage operations by selecting the correct transmission speed can improve fuel economy and productivity. An experiment was performed testing the effects of 3 transmission speeds (slow, normal, and fast) on equipment performance while subsoiling with 2 different implements. The results showed that fuel consumption (L/h) increased as transmission speed increased. However, the fuel cost per hectare was significantly lower for the normal and fast travel speeds compared to the slow speed. In summary, adjustment of transmission speed can increase productivity and profitability for farmers.

Technical Abstract: Precision agriculture (PA) technologies have enabled farmers to collect and utilize field data to formulate improved management decisions. Common PA technologies include guidance systems, yield monitors, and variable-rate technology; however, it also entails equipment performance monitoring. Investigating equipment parameters such as fuel consumption, draft forces, slip, exhaust gas temperature (EGT), and axle torque can be used to improve machine management with the intent to reduce costs. The scope of this research focused on energy intensive operations such as subsoiling which are required to alleviate soil compaction often found in the Southeastern United States. An experiment was performed to investigate the effects of 3 different transmission gear selections on two different subsoiling implements. Three separate gears were chosen to achieve slow, normal, and fast operating speeds. The implements included a Kelley Manufacturing Company (KMC) in-row subsoiler and a Bigham Brothers Paratill™, both in 6 row configurations pulled by a John Deere 8300 MFWD agricultural tractor. Results indicated a 105% increase in fuel consumption rate, a 28% increase in implement draft, and a 255% increase in power between the slow and fast speed for the Paratill™. The KMC showed a 115% increase in fuel consumption rate, a 37% increase in implement draft, and a 283% increase in power between the slow and fast speeds. Energy savings of this nature can lead to improved operational efficiency, money savings for the producer, and reduced emissions as a result of decreased fuel usage.