Experimental tests on winter cereal: Sod seeding compared to minimum tillage and traditional plowing

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Antoniotto Guidobono Cavalchini *
Gian Luca Rognoni
Francesco M. Tangorra
Annamaria Costa
(*) Corresponding Author:
Antoniotto Guidobono Cavalchini | antoniotto.cavalchini@unimi.it

Abstract

Compared to traditional plowing and minimum tillage, the sod seeding technique has been tested in order to evaluate the differences in energy consumption, labor and machinery requirement and CO2 emission reduction. The experiments were conducted on winter cereal seeding in a Po valley farm in October 2011. The tests were carried out as follows: wheat variety seeding, over corn and alfalfa crops, in large plots with three repetitions for each thesis. They included: sod seeding anticipated by round up weeding in the case of the plots over alfalfa; traditional plowing at 35 cm followed by rotary tillage and combined seeding (seeder plus rotary tiller); minimum tillage based on ripping at the same depth (35 cm) and combined seeder ( seeder plus rotary tiller). The following farm operations - fertilizer, and other agrochemical distributionshave been the same in all the considered theses. The results, statistically significant (P<0.001) in terms of yields, highlighted slight differences: the best data in the case of the traditional plowing both in the case of wheat crop over corn and alfalfa (84.43 and 6.75 t/ha); slightly lower yields for the sod seeding (6.23 and 79.9 t/ha for corn and alfalfa respectively); lower in the case of minimum tillage (5.87; 79.77 t/ha in the two situations). Huge differences in energy and oil consumption have been recorded: in the case of succession to corn 61.47; 35.31; 4.27 kg oil/ha respectively for, traditional plowing, minimum tillage and sod seeding; in the case of alfalfa 61.2; 50.96; 5.14 kg oil/ha respectively for traditional plowing, minimum tillage and sod seeding. The innovative technique, highlighted huge energy saving with an oil consumption equal to 92% and 89% (P<0.001) of what happens in traditional plowing and minimum tillage. Large differences concern labor and machine productivity. These parameters together with oil consumption and machine size [power (kW) and weight (t)] lead to even greater differences in terms of energy consumption, efficiency and CO2 emission savings. Considerations related to the different mechanizations chains, investments required and to some new practices to be introduced, such as low pressure tires or crawlers, ideal lanes, GPS and automatic guide systems to follow the ideal lanes, conclude the study.

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