Disc Seeders in Conservation Agriculture - An Australian survey

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Jack Desboilles
University of South Australia

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Disc Seeders in Conservation Agriculture - An Australian survey

  1. 1. UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA<br />Disc Seeders in Conservation Agriculture - An Australian survey<br />Dr Jack Desbiolles <br />Engineering for Sustainable Agriculture<br />Barbara Hardy Institute<br />
  2. 2. <ul><li>Background on Australian no-till and disc seeder technology
  3. 3. Benefits and limitations (2007 disc seeder user survey)
  4. 4. Example on-farm strategies for challenging soil/residue situations</li></li></ul><li>% farmers using no-till/zero-till in 2008<br />(after Llewellyn and D’Emden, 2010)<br />72% n=1<br />77-94% (88%)<br />n=6<br />45-89% (78%)<br />n=4<br />68-81% (75%)<br />n=3<br />55-85% (76%)<br />n=5<br />
  5. 5. Herbicideconcentration on inter-row<br />Herbicide-free seed row<br /> Australian no-till seeding<br />Narrow opener & press wheel system <br />Water harvesting press-wheel furrows<br />Soil applied pre-emergence herbicides<br /> ‘incorporated by sowing’ (IBS)<br />
  6. 6. Recent trends in no-till seeders<br /><ul><li>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
  7. 7. Over last 3 years, the industry is witnessing a significant increase in disc seeder interest and purchase (over 50 brands available in Australia)</li></li></ul><li>“Small” scale disc seeders<br />
  8. 8. Large scale disc seeders<br />Seeding system<br />row unit<br />
  9. 9. vertical<br />Tilt<br />Sweep<br />TRAVEL<br />E.g. Single disc seeding systems<br />
  10. 10. E.g. Double disc seeding systems ± coulters<br />
  11. 11. 2007 survey of disc seeder users<br />Aim to document:<br /> i) disc seeder benefits and limitations experienced on-farm across a range of soil and rainfall conditions and disc seeder technologies<br /> ii) the strategies adopted to deal with disc seeder limitations<br />
  12. 12. Survey methodology<br /><ul><li>Questionnaire peer reviewed and pilot tested
  13. 13. Sample-population contacts obtained via no-till associations, farming system groups, disc seeder suppliers etc…
  14. 14. Targeted mail-out + on-line survey form advertised across professional media (Feb-Sept 2007) and no-till associations
  15. 15. Incentives: open strategy of knowledge sharing across users and potential adopters, prize draw (NT books)
  16. 16. Follow-up phone calls to strengthen data sets</li></li></ul><li> Response overview<br />195 survey responses <br />from winter & summer cropping systems<br />from cropping areas of 100-18,000 ha<br />29% from long term no-till adopters (>12 years)<br />10% from recent no-till adopters (1-3 years)<br />26% from <250mm Growing Season Rainfall<br />22% from >350mm GSR<br />
  17. 17. Benefits in the cropping system<br /><ul><li>Ability to retain and handle heavy stubble (58%)
  18. 18. No soil degradation (soil erosion control)
  19. 19. Improved water infiltration & preservation in profile  enhanced water use efficiency and grain yield potential
  20. 20. Improved soil health and biological activity
  21. 21. No stubble management, harvesting & seeding made easier (fuel/labour savings), improved efficiency at harvest
  22. 22. Cropping system flexibility (opportunity crop rotations)</li></li></ul><li> Benefits in the cropping system<br /><ul><li>Low soil disturbance + seed placement accuracy (35%)
  23. 23. More even, rapid and reliable crop establishment
  24. 24. Seedbed moisture conservation = longer sowing window
  25. 25. Lower weed seed germination
  26. 26. Smoother paddocks
  27. 27. Better ability to establish or regenerate pastures
  28. 28. Reduced seed inputs
  29. 29. Reduced clods under dry-sowing</li></li></ul><li>Benefits in the cropping system<br /><ul><li>High work rates (23%) faster sowing = improved timeliness & yield potential labour & fuel savings per ha = better efficiencies
  30. 30. Handling stony soils (10%)</li></ul>  Improved cropping results in stony paddocks no stone harvesting or paddock rolling needed  smoother stony paddocks after seeding<br />
  31. 31. Disc seeder limitations<br />(% responses)<br /><ul><li>Poor handling of sticky soils (68%)
  32. 32. Inadequate herbicide incorporation* (38%)
  33. 33. Lack of ground penetration ability (35%)
  34. 34. Residue pinning (34%)
  35. 35. Early bearings failure * (34%)
  36. 36. Damage and high wear in stony soils*
  37. 37. Irregular seed placement*
  38. 38. Poor furrow closure in wet compact clays*
  39. 39. Pre-emergence herbicide crop damage*
  40. 40. Poor disc drive in soft soils*
  41. 41. High draft in compacted soils*
  42. 42. Furrow smearing & compaction in wet clay*</li></ul>*Technology specific limitations<br />
  43. 43. E.g. management strategies “residue hairpinning”<br />
  44. 44.
  45. 45. i) Residue avoidance<br /> techniques<br /> Minimise residue load on the ground- maximise stubble height - uniformly spread all loose residue<br /><ul><li>Inter-row sowing to avoid the bulk of standing residue
  46. 46. Use row clearing residue managers to remove the excess loose/matted residue</li></li></ul><li>ii) Maximising residue cutting capacity<br /> Operate in dry residue, cutting along residue stem direction <br /> Cutting process = wedging + sliding cut actions<br /> Effective wedging requires a sharp cutting edge + strong soil backing<br /><ul><li>Ensure sufficient down force onto disc matches requirements
  47. 47. Sliding cut component is improved with a high speed ratio</li></li></ul><li>E.g. Disc blade speed ratio (VT/V0) Benefits of tangential flutes<br />VT<br />V0<br />Travel directions<br />Standard mode<br />Reverse mode<br />Agricultural Machinery Research and DesignCentre<br />Directa blade Ingersoll - Argentina<br />
  48. 48. E.g. management strategies for “sticky soils”<br /> Excessive soil build-up can significantly impair seeding system functions<br />
  49. 49. i) Field operation<br />- Timing: delay seeding until ‘dry surface <br /> crust’ is formed<br />- Shallow depth <br />- Faster speed<br />- minimise gauge wheel<br /> loading<br />- start & stop out of <br /> the ground <br />
  50. 50. ii) Technology upgrade<br />- Maximise disc driving ability with:<br />  Higher speed (momentum)<br />  Reduced friction resistance - remove poor design scrapers - increase clearances between rotating components - upgrade with effective & well located scrapers <br />- Reduce mud collection (open wheel rim designs)<br />- Promote mud shedding (flexing gauge tyres)<br />
  51. 51. Take Home Messages<br /><ul><li>Disc seeders are being successfully adopted in Australia by an increasing number of no-till farmers
  52. 52. Disc seeder adoption is motivated by many short and long term benefits, affecting cropping efficiency, sustainability and productivity
  53. 53. Technological solutions and optimised field practices help manage limitations found in challenging soil/residue conditions
  54. 54. Disc seeders are seen as a tool to enable best practice in zero-till cropping, and which benefit most under controlled traffic systems</li></li></ul><li> Support also acknowledged from<br />And a majority of disc seeder suppliers and farming system groups<br />
  55. 55. Further information:<br />State No-Till Associations <br />WANTFA: www.wantfa.com.au<br /> SANTFA: www.santfa.com.au<br /> VNTFA: www.vicnotill.com.au<br /> CANFA: www.canfa.com.au<br /> CFI: www.cfi.org.au<br />GRDC Groundcover-Direct Catalogue 2011:<br /> www.grdc.com.au/uploads/documents/GRDC-GroundcoverDirectCatalogue201105-101.pdf<br />

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