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Disc Seeders in Conservation Agriculture - An Australian survey

Disc Seeders in Conservation Agriculture - An Australian survey



Jack Desboilles

Jack Desboilles
University of South Australia



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    Disc Seeders in Conservation Agriculture - An Australian survey Disc Seeders in Conservation Agriculture - An Australian survey Presentation Transcript

      Disc Seeders in Conservation Agriculture - An Australian survey
      Dr Jack Desbiolles
      Engineering for Sustainable Agriculture
      Barbara Hardy Institute
      • Background on Australian no-till and disc seeder technology
      • Benefits and limitations (2007 disc seeder user survey)
      • Example on-farm strategies for challenging soil/residue situations
    • % farmers using no-till/zero-till in 2008
      (after Llewellyn and D’Emden, 2010)
      72% n=1
      77-94% (88%)
      45-89% (78%)
      68-81% (75%)
      55-85% (76%)
    • Herbicideconcentration on inter-row
      Herbicide-free seed row
      Australian no-till seeding
      Narrow opener & press wheel system
      Water harvesting press-wheel furrows
      Soil applied pre-emergence herbicides
      ‘incorporated by sowing’ (IBS)
    • Recent trends in no-till seeders
      • Disc seeder ownership in Australia (2008)(after Llewellyn and D’Emden, 2010) 19 regions surveyed across 5 states (1170 farmers)- 11% farmers in 17 Southern regions - 52% farmers in 2 Northern regions (summer cropping)- half of these farmers own both tine & disc seeders
      • Over last 3 years, the industry is witnessing a significant increase in disc seeder interest and purchase (over 50 brands available in Australia)
    • “Small” scale disc seeders
    • Large scale disc seeders
      Seeding system
      row unit
    • vertical
      E.g. Single disc seeding systems
    • E.g. Double disc seeding systems ± coulters
    • 2007 survey of disc seeder users
      Aim to document:
      i) disc seeder benefits and limitations experienced on-farm across a range of soil and rainfall conditions and disc seeder technologies
      ii) the strategies adopted to deal with disc seeder limitations
    • Survey methodology
      • Questionnaire peer reviewed and pilot tested
      • Sample-population contacts obtained via no-till associations, farming system groups, disc seeder suppliers etc…
      • Targeted mail-out + on-line survey form advertised across professional media (Feb-Sept 2007) and no-till associations
      • Incentives: open strategy of knowledge sharing across users and potential adopters, prize draw (NT books)
      • Follow-up phone calls to strengthen data sets
    • Response overview
      195 survey responses
      from winter & summer cropping systems
      from cropping areas of 100-18,000 ha
      29% from long term no-till adopters (>12 years)
      10% from recent no-till adopters (1-3 years)
      26% from <250mm Growing Season Rainfall
      22% from >350mm GSR
    • Benefits in the cropping system
      • Ability to retain and handle heavy stubble (58%)
      • No soil degradation (soil erosion control)
      • Improved water infiltration & preservation in profile  enhanced water use efficiency and grain yield potential
      • Improved soil health and biological activity
      • No stubble management, harvesting & seeding made easier (fuel/labour savings), improved efficiency at harvest
      • Cropping system flexibility (opportunity crop rotations)
    • Benefits in the cropping system
      • Low soil disturbance + seed placement accuracy (35%)
      • More even, rapid and reliable crop establishment
      • Seedbed moisture conservation = longer sowing window
      • Lower weed seed germination
      • Smoother paddocks
      • Better ability to establish or regenerate pastures
      • Reduced seed inputs
      • Reduced clods under dry-sowing
    • Benefits in the cropping system
      • High work rates (23%) faster sowing = improved timeliness & yield potential labour & fuel savings per ha = better efficiencies
      • Handling stony soils (10%)
       Improved cropping results in stony paddocks no stone harvesting or paddock rolling needed  smoother stony paddocks after seeding
    • Disc seeder limitations
      (% responses)
      • Poor handling of sticky soils (68%)
      • Inadequate herbicide incorporation* (38%)
      • Lack of ground penetration ability (35%)
      • Residue pinning (34%)
      • Early bearings failure * (34%)
      • Damage and high wear in stony soils*
      • Irregular seed placement*
      • Poor furrow closure in wet compact clays*
      • Pre-emergence herbicide crop damage*
      • Poor disc drive in soft soils*
      • High draft in compacted soils*
      • Furrow smearing & compaction in wet clay*
      *Technology specific limitations
    • E.g. management strategies “residue hairpinning”
    • i) Residue avoidance
       Minimise residue load on the ground- maximise stubble height - uniformly spread all loose residue
      • Inter-row sowing to avoid the bulk of standing residue
      • Use row clearing residue managers to remove the excess loose/matted residue
    • ii) Maximising residue cutting capacity
       Operate in dry residue, cutting along residue stem direction
       Cutting process = wedging + sliding cut actions
       Effective wedging requires a sharp cutting edge + strong soil backing
      • Ensure sufficient down force onto disc matches requirements
      • Sliding cut component is improved with a high speed ratio
    • E.g. Disc blade speed ratio (VT/V0) Benefits of tangential flutes
      Travel directions
      Standard mode
      Reverse mode
      Agricultural Machinery Research and DesignCentre
      Directa blade Ingersoll - Argentina
    • E.g. management strategies for “sticky soils”
       Excessive soil build-up can significantly impair seeding system functions
    • i) Field operation
      - Timing: delay seeding until ‘dry surface
      crust’ is formed
      - Shallow depth
      - Faster speed
      - minimise gauge wheel
      - start & stop out of
      the ground
    • ii) Technology upgrade
      - Maximise disc driving ability with:
       Higher speed (momentum)
       Reduced friction resistance - remove poor design scrapers - increase clearances between rotating components - upgrade with effective & well located scrapers
      - Reduce mud collection (open wheel rim designs)
      - Promote mud shedding (flexing gauge tyres)
    • Take Home Messages
      • Disc seeders are being successfully adopted in Australia by an increasing number of no-till farmers
      • Disc seeder adoption is motivated by many short and long term benefits, affecting cropping efficiency, sustainability and productivity
      • Technological solutions and optimised field practices help manage limitations found in challenging soil/residue conditions
      • Disc seeders are seen as a tool to enable best practice in zero-till cropping, and which benefit most under controlled traffic systems
    • Support also acknowledged from
      And a majority of disc seeder suppliers and farming system groups
    • Further information:
      State No-Till Associations
      WANTFA: www.wantfa.com.au
      SANTFA: www.santfa.com.au
      VNTFA: www.vicnotill.com.au
      CANFA: www.canfa.com.au
      CFI: www.cfi.org.au
      GRDC Groundcover-Direct Catalogue 2011:
       www.grdc.com.au/uploads/documents/GRDC-GroundcoverDirectCatalogue201105-101.pdf