Evaluation of furrow openers and packers for conservation tillage
Producers in the Canadian Prairies are increasingly adopting conservation tillage systems. A large part of the success of conservation tillage rests on the availability of equipment able to seed into standing stubble. In semiarid environments, wheat yields are often limited by poor stand establishment and low plant density. Consequently, furrow openers and packing systems that promote complete and rapid germination and emergence improve the odds of obtaining good yields. A series of field studies are being conducted at Swift Current to develop protocols for the evaluation of furrow openers and packing systems for reduced tillage systems. The testing protocol consisted of a number of measurements to evaluate the physical properties of the soil within the furrow (bulk density,aggregate size distribution, penetration resistance), estimators of the shape and conformation of the furrow (volume of soil disturbed by the opener, perimeter length, surface roughness, measurement of water status of the soil surrounding the seed (volumetric water content and evaporation rate) estimators of seedling emergence and speed of emergence, measurements of aboveground biomass accumulation by the plants up to the 3 leaf stage, and measurements of the depth of seeding and dispersion of seeds in the furrow area. This presentation will discuss the merits and limitations of the protocol based on the results of an exploratory test of a number of furrow opener-packer combinations.
aggregate size distribution
time domain reflectrometry
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