Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #393256

Research Project: Sustaining Productivity and Ecosystem Services of Agricultural and Horticultural Systems in the Southeastern United States

Location: Soil Dynamics Research

Title: Soil rut effects on planter performance for cotton in a conservation tillage system

Author
item Way, Thomas - Tom
item Kornecki, Ted
item Tewolde, Haile
item Watts, Dexter

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/18/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Ruts are commonly formed in the soil of agricultural fields by traffic from harvesting equipment and other vehicles when crops are harvested. When a crop is planted after these ruts are formed, the ruts can adversely affect the performance of a row crop planter, because the seeds may be planted shallower or deeper than the target planting depth. We conducted a three-year experiment on a sandy loam and a clay soil to investigate effects of soil ruts on the performance of a row crop planter while planting cotton into a rolled rye cover crop, and effects of planter depth setting on planter performance when planting through soil ruts. The results show that although not all differences were statistically significant, for five of the six combinations of year and soil, cotton seedling emergence at 15 days after planting was greater when the soil had no rut, i.e., flat unrutted soil, than when the planter traveled across soil ruts while planting. We used three seeding depth settings and found that the planter depth setting did not significantly affect emergence at 15 days after planting for any of the six combinations of year and soil.

Technical Abstract: Soil rutting commonly occurs during harvest and ruts formed during harvesting can adversely affect row crop planter performance at the start of the subsequent cropping season. We conducted a three-year experiment on a sandy loam and a clay soil to investigate effects of soil ruts on the performance of a row crop planter while planting cotton into a rolled rye cover crop, and effects of planter depth setting on planter performance when planting through soil ruts. The four rut types used, prior to planting the rye cover crop in the fall, were a single tire rut, the rut from a dual pair of tires, and two rut types formed by cutting the soil 25 mm (1 in.) and 50 mm (2 in.) deep and removing soil from the ruts. The results show that although not all differences were statistically significant, for five of the six combinations of year and soil, cotton seedling emergence at 15 days after planting was greater when the soil had no rut, i.e., flat unrutted soil, than when the planter traveled across soil ruts while planting. In four of the six combinations of year and soil, emergence was significantly greater for the no rut soil condition than for a rut which was formed the previous fall by cutting 50 mm (2 in.) deep and removing soil from the rut. The three seeding depth settings used in the experiment positioned the bottom peripheries of the two disks of the double-disk opener 28, 35, and 40 mm (1.1, 1.4, and 1.6 in.) beneath the bottom peripheries of the depth-gauge wheels, providing those nominal seeding depths before the closing wheels firmed the soil. The planter depth setting did not significantly affect emergence at 15 days after planting for any of the six combinations of year and soil. Regression equations show a trend of decreased emergence as rut depth increased for both soils, with the clay regression line having a greater magnitude slope than the sandy loam line.