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Roller crimper designs for cover crops

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69th SWCS International Annual Conference
July 27-30, 2014
Lombard, IL

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Roller crimper designs for cover crops

  1. 1. United States Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service National Soil Dynamics Laboratory Presented at the 2014 International Soil and Water Conference, Lombard, IL July 27th – 30th, 2014 ROLLER/CRIMPER DESIGNS FOR COVER CROPS MANAGEMENT ON DIFFERENT FARM SCALES USING CONSERVATION PRACTICES Ted S. Kornecki, Agricultural Engineer
  2. 2. Auburn, Alabama Gulf of Mexico Location of the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, National Soil Dynamics Laboratory Alabama soils: Ultisols, sandy soils - coastal plains; Alfisols, the fine-textured soils – Piedmont These soils are highly weathered, low organic matter (less than 1%)
  3. 3. Presentation Outline  Conservation tillage information  Cover crops benefits  Roller/crimper technology background  Results from testing different rollers/crimpers  Other equipment development  Summary
  4. 4. Important factors in conservation tillage: 1. Minimizing soil disruption (non-inversion tillage), and 2. Maximizing soil coverage using cover crops Conservation tillage: more than 30% of residue cover Conservation Agriculture (CA) CA is defined as minimal soil disturbance (no-till) and permanent soil cover (mulch) combined with rotations, as a more sustainable cultivation system for the future (FAO). COUNTRY CA area (ha) % U.S.A. 35,613,000 23.0 Brazil 31,811,000 20.6 Argentina 27,000,000 17.5 Canada 18,313,000 11.8 Australia 17,695,000 11.4 Rest of the World: 24,378,000 ha (15.7%). Total CA 154,810,000 100 84.3% FAO, 2014
  5. 5.  Cover crops are a vital part of conservation agriculture and they need to produce optimum biomass to provide most benefits. Cover crops used in Alabama Cereal Rye: 4000 to 9000 kg ha-1 Sunn Hemp: 5600 kg ha-1, Nitrogen production: 130 kg ha-1 Hairy Vetch: 4500 to 7800 kg ha-1, Nitrogen production: 100-220 kg ha-1 Crimson Clover: 3900 to 6200 kg ha-1, Nitrogen production: 170 kg ha-1 Trifolium incarnatum L. Crotalaria junecea L. Secale cereale L Vicia villosa L
  6. 6. Benefits from cover crops  Reduced runoff  Reduced evaporation  Increased water infiltration  Increased available moisture  Improved soil quality and plant growth through:  Reduced soil erosion  Reduced soil compaction  Increased soil organic C and N  Reduced weed pressure (mulch) Maintain soil sustainability and farm profitability Better water utilization by plants due to: Benefits from cover crops are lost through: • Incorporation (no soil protection and CO2 emission) • Mowing (regrowth and competition for resources) • Burning (toxic gases emission, hydrophobic surface)
  7. 7. Hair Pinning Residue accumulation on planter General poor stands or yield loss Planting problems in High Residue Systems
  8. 8. Rollers/crimpers have been used to flatten and mechanically terminate cover crops in the same direction as cash crop planting. Rolling is important for tall cover crops, even if terminated with herbicides (but not rolled down) the residue will interfere with planters. Rolling/crimping technology Crimping action injures cover crop by crushing plant’s tissue against a firm soil surface. Crimping bar
  9. 9. Termination and cover crop growth stage Cover crops must be terminated at the appropriate growth stage.  In the Southern U.S. cover crops are terminated three weeks before planting a cash crop to eliminate competition for nutrients and water between cover and cash crop (Ashford and Reeves, 2003).  Cover crop termination rate at planting cash crop must exceed 90%. 0 20 40 60 80 100 RyeTerminationRate(%) flag leaf anthesis early milk Recommended growth stage for rye termination (Ashford and Reeves, 2003) Effectiveness of roller alone three weeks after rolling rye Mechanical termination at a premature growth stage is ineffective. Ashford, D. L., and D. W. Reeves. 2003. Use of a mechanical roller crimper as an alternative termination method for cover crop. American J. of Alternative Agric. 18(1): 37‐45.
  10. 10. Examples of different roller designs Original design: straight bar roller, which at higher speeds generated excessive vibration. Curved bars roller Smooth roller with crimping arm; Kornecki, U.S. Patent # 7,604,067 B1 Two-section curved bars roller
  11. 11. Roller’s width = 1.8 m Single-section Roller Experiment Three roller designs were tested at 1.6 km/h, 3.2 km/h and 8.0 km/h operating speeds to evaluate speed and roller type effects on rye termination one, two and three weeks after rolling, and tractor vibrations Straight bar roller Curved bar roller Smooth roller with crimper Developed at the National Soil Dynamics Lab.
  12. 12. Cumulative termination rates Kornecki, T.S., Price, A.J., Raper, R.L. 2006. Performance of different roller designs in terminating cover crops. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 22(5):633-641
  13. 13. Tractor frame vibration Extremely uncomfortable level (ISO, 1997) Tractor’s frame Accelerometer Kornecki, T.S., Price, A.J., Raper, R.L. 2006. Performance of different roller designs in terminating cover crops. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 22(5):633-641
  14. 14. ON-OFF micro-switch Fast acting solenoid valve How to effectively speed-up cover crop termination ? Cold and wet weather in spring can delay the rolling of cover crop also could delay cash crop planting
  15. 15. Amounts of glyphosate (Roundup) used Treatment Roundup solution applied (gal/ac) % Roundup amount of continuous spray Rye termination after one week (%) Continuous spray 14.9 100 100 Spray every other crimp 4.3 29 98 Spray every 4th crimp 1.9 13 96 T. S. Kornecki, A. J. Price, R. L. Raper, J. S. Bergtold, 2009. Effectiveness of different herbicide applicators mounted on a roller/crimper for accelerated rye cover crop termination. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. Vol. 25(6): 819‐826
  16. 16. Transplanting sweet potato into cereal rye residue cover Roller/crimper for elevated beds Two-row, three furrows One row, two furrows One row, two furrows Kornecki, U.S. Patent #7,662,517 B1
  17. 17. Two-stage roller/crimper Rear view Side View Two-stage roller for Randle Farms in Auburn, Alabama as a part of a CIG grant for multiyear on-farm experiment Kornecki, 2011,U.S. Patent # 7, 987, 917 B1
  18. 18. 2008 Results: Rye termination rates
  19. 19. Controlled herbicide discharge for two-stage roller/crimper Rye and Crimson Clover termination by two-stage roller  Roundup Powermax—325mL/7.5gallons (22 ounces/acre) ($28.00-30.00/gallon)  VINEGAR—20% No Dilution (15 gallons/acre) ($16.10-21.49/gallon)  WEED ZAP—Mix 64oz/per 10 gallons H2O (96 ounces/acre) ($75.60-79.99/gallon) Rolling Treatments: Two-stage roller/crimper only Continuous spray + roller Spray every other crimp + roller Spray every third crimp + roller Cereal Rye Crimson clover
  20. 20. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 Noroll Roller Cont 2nd 3rd Cont 2nd 3rd Cont 2nd 3rd Noroll Roller Cont 2nd 3rd Cont 2nd 3rd Cont 2nd 3rd Noroll Roller Cont 2nd 3rd Cont 2nd 3rd Cont 2nd 3rd Roundup Vinegar Weed- Zap Roundup Vinegar Weed- Zap Roundup Vinegar Weed- Zap Week 1 LSD = 4.49 Week 2 LSD = 4.19 Week 3 LSD = 2.81 Time after rolling TerminationRate(%) e ab e bc bcd d c b aaa cd abab d d cd cdcd bc abaab abccbcc abcabcaa cdd 2010 termination Rates for Rye
  21. 21. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 Noroll Roller Cont 2nd 3rd Cont 2nd 3rd Cont 2nd 3rd Noroll Roller Cont 2nd 3rd Cont 2nd 3rd Cont 2nd 3rd Noroll Roller Cont 2nd 3rd Cont 2nd 3rd Cont 2nd 3rd Roundup Vinegar Weed- Zap Roundup Vinegar Weed- Zap Roundup Vinegar Weed- Zap Week 1 LSD = 7.78 Week 2 LSD = 5.60 Week 3 LSD = 5.65 Time after rolling TerminationRate(%) a bcd ef cd e g f ed def a aaa c bcd abc f ab bb ab b ab ab ab b ded c dede ab g 2010 termination rates for Crimson Clover
  22. 22. Video of rolling/crimping cover crops
  23. 23. Experiment evaluating rollers/crimpers for walk-behind tractors used on small farms Two-stage roller/crimper: Kornecki, 2011 U.S. Patent #7,987,917 B1 (USDA-NSDL) Chevron type, curved bar roller from Earth Tools Inc. in Kentucky, USA Powered roller/crimper, Kornecki 2012, U.S. Patent #8,176,991 B1 (USDA-NSDL) Rolling Treatments: • Compare termination effectiveness in terminating cereal rye by three different roller types • Effect of rolling passes by each roller (from 1 to 3) on cereal rye termination
  24. 24. Rye termination rates for different roller types For each week, different letters indicate significant differences between roller types and number of passes. Rye terminated: April 23, 2013 2013 (April 30) (May 07) (May 14) Rainfall: 40 mm May 06, 2013 2013 2013
  25. 25. Video of rye termination by rollers/crimpers for walk-behind tractors
  26. 26. Other equipment development for no-till systems Modified RJ one-row transplanter: Sub-frame with shank was added to alleviate soil compaction
  27. 27. Transplanting tomatoes into a heavy rye residue cover in Cullman, Alabama
  28. 28. Video of RJ transplanter with coulter and row cleaners
  29. 29. Video of Custom Residue Manager Cover Crop Residue Manager, Kornecki et. al., 2014, U.S. Patent # 8770,119 B1
  30. 30.  New roller/crimper designs effectively terminate dense and tall cover crops without vibrations. Applicable for different tractor sizes/farm scales.  Roller for elevated beds can effectively terminate cover crops grown on elevated bed culture.  Compared to roller alone, termination process can be faster with continuous or reduced supplemental applications of Glyphosate herbicide.  Powered and the two-stage roller/crimper for walk behind tractors gives small farms effective solution to terminate cover crops using limited power source.  Sub-soiling and transplanting is an effective way to combine operations. Use of cover crop residue managers is effective alternative to a rotary row cleaners. Summary
  31. 31. Thank you. Questions?Thank you. Questions? Contact information: Ted S. Kornecki, Agricultural Engineer United States Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service National Soil Dynamics Laboratory 411 South Donahue Drive, Auburn, Alabama 36832 E-mail: ted.kornecki@ars.usda.gov; phone: 1-334-887-8596, extension: 2745

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