VELES-AGRO

tillage equipment and spare parts

Agrotechnical effectiveness of different types of grain drills

20 august 2012

Agrotechnical the effectiveness of different types of grain drills during sowing of winter wheat.

Pogorelov, deputy director,
Rozhansky A., head of the laboratory
(UKRNDIPVT named after L. Pogorely)

From entire list of technological operations used in crop production, with full confidence we can say that sowing is the defining element of cropping technology on formation a uniform feeding area and optimum plant density in crops, which in its turn provides the most intense growth of the assimilation leaf area — the main productivity factor. Therefore, one of the most important structural component of grain drills, in terms of providing favorable conditions for seed germination, obtaining amicable seedling, plant growth and development and in the long term the level of crop production, always was the coulter group, which includes mechanisms for: copying of the field surface profile; installation and maintain of the desired drilling depth; seeding at optimum depth, creating a proper seed to soil contact; mulching of the soil surface in the area of row.

Studies have shown that today in Ukraine in addition to traditional primary cultivation on the basis of plowing, there are applied three types of minimal systems: preserving, based on subsoiling on 25?40 cm preserving up to 70% of crop residues on the surface of the field, mulching, providing tillage and mulching of topsoil by crop residues to a depth of 10?12 cm and the no-till system or direct seeding without prior treatment with full preservation of crop residues on the surface of the field. It is determined that a particular agricultural enterprise in the structure of processing systems on traditional technology may account for 50?60%, preservative — 20?30%, mulch and no-till — 10?20% of the total area of arable land. Therefore, for the Ukrainian agricultural enterprises, today important is the issue, what kind of "grain drill with different processing systems to sow their fields — specialized or universal, because they understand that the seeder actually lays the foundation for the next harvest, and variegated large machine park requires significant capital investment.

At the end of the 20th century’s leading manufacturers of agricultural machinery suggested agricultural companies grain drills with the coulter groups that are designed for high-quality seeding with a particular method of tillage (after plowing were used one coulter group, after subsurface loosening — another). These grain drills have been equipped with the coil sowing unit, provided them with a high flexibility in terms of seeding of different crops, but adaptation of their coulter groups to different tillage systems was very low.

Today, the emergence of new technologies for crop production focused on reducing of energy consumption and minimal handling systems, required the creation of universal sowing units, not only in terms of sowing of the seeds with different physical and mechanical characteristics, but also those that can provide both sowing on the sidelines with traditional tillage based on plowing and after subsurface loosening of the soil of varying depth or to conduct direct seeding, where the previous soil cultivation generally not carried out in the field and a considerable amount of chopped crop residues was abandoned. Thus, the minimum systems, unlike traditional systems of treatment, impose to coulter groups of grain drills additional requirements: the ability to plug the seeds uniformly to the desired depth with a large number of crop residues on the surface of the field, and increased hardness and ridgeness of the soil surface.

UKRNDIPVT named after L. Pogorely is performing researches of the sowing machines in cooperation with manufactures, on a unique scientific test site of a four tillage system in the five-field grain crop rotation with a total area of 150 hectares (20 fields by 7.5 hectares each). Soil type — typical medium loamy chernozem with low humus content. Determination of the estimated work criteria of the grain drills was conducted in versions with four processing systems (see Fig. 1) based on traditional plowing to a depth of 22?23 cm (crop residues fully buried, the surface of the field is aligned with small lumps) preserving based on subsoiling to a depth of 30 -32 cm (unburied crop residues up to 30%); mulching on the basis of small loosening to a depth of 10?12 cm (unburied crop residues up to 45%), with Mini-till elements based on the surface loosening to a depth of seeding (unburied crop residues up to 60%). Variations of processing systems for the period of sowing differed by depth of tillage, crop residues mass on the surface of the field, the hardness of the soil seed layer and surface uniformity of the field, which fully allowed to evaluate performance of different types of coulter groups of sowing units.

During past four agricultural seasons was carried out agrotechnical field evaluation of three fundamentally different types of sowing units during the planting season, under the mentioned conditions, the seeds of winter wheat, barley, peas, soybeans, and buckwheat:

— Rapid 400C universal mechanical grain drill (Figure 2) produced by Vaderstadt (Sweden), which has rigidly mounted cultivating module for seedbed preparation. Rapid grain drills modifications realize the concept of simultaneous seedbed preparation and seeding by one unit according to the following scheme: a rough surface leveling of the field with special spring plates — topsoil loosening by two rows of flat disks attached to the frame with rubber shock absorbers — seeding using disk-suffolk coulter, which is mounted on the radial suspension and equipped with the original system of jet thrust to stabilize the depth of seeding — and surface rolling of the sown field with rubber support-transport wheels — topsoil mulching by spring comb. Necessity and depth of the pre-processing of Rapid 400C universal grain drill is regulated by the position changing, relative to the surface of the field, working bodies of the tillage;

— Compact-Solitair 9 / 300H combined-sowing tillage unit (Figure 3) produced by LEMKEN (Germany), which is composed of a working bodies of the disc harrow Heliodor and a Solitair pneumatic seeder. Compact-Solitair series aggregates allow to realize is similar to the Rapid technological scheme of simultaneous seedbed preparation and seeding, but with essential, in our view, difference. After the surface leveling and topsoil loosening by rectifiers and spherical discs on an elastic suspension — held a solid sealing of loosened topsoil by special roller — then using a double disk coulter, which is mounted on paralelogramm suspension, seeds are sown — rolling is performed by located behind the back coulter copying-press wheel of sowing section directly in the seed row zone — and finally topsoil mulching by spring comb. Adjusting of the depth of seedbed preparation is carried out analogously as in the Rapid 400C grain drill;

— SZM «Nika-4» mechanical grain drill (see Fig. 4) produced by «Veles-Agro» (Ukraine). SZM «Nika» seeder family (working width 4.6 m) is a typical representative of mechanical grain drills equipped with perfect coulter group in modern designs. Pre-sowing treatment in this case may be, if necessary, carried out by any unit, the quality of which meets the requirements of modern agricultural technologies. In the subsequent a sowing section of SZM-4 «Nika» grain drill implements the following seeding scheme: the formation of V-shaped seeding groove using an original design double disk coulter with the offset discs location, the first disc cuts through the flat narrow line, even in presence of a large number of agricultural residues at the surface of the field, and the rear disc loosens the soil — seeds are sown on the prepared bed — narrow wheel placed behind the coulter packs the seeds only in the area of row, which ensures high-quality seed to soil contact — later (if necessary) special units mulch the soil surface only in the area of row, which ensures optimal temperature and air conditions in the area of seedbed.
As evidenced by this brief description of the variety of technological approaches and the execution sequence of their components (elements) for seedbed preparation and sowing of grain, as well as design features and specifications of various modern sowing units (Table. 1) certainly the question arises to each producer: which strategy to choose, which unit is more effective, what seeding scheme is effective and will provide the highest yield? Next, we present the results of our experiments and generalizations, while only on the main cereal crops — winter wheat by five major factors: the depth of seeding, uniformity of seeding depth, field germination of seeds, the uniformity of the stairs by length of the string and yield (Table. 2). Each of these parameters was determined at a particular stage of plant development and described the quality of the technological elements of sowing and agrotechnological effectiveness of specific sowing unit accordingly.

Working conditions of grain drills over the years have changed, but the importance of indicators, including basic — moisture and soil hardness have been fluctuated within an acceptable range, corresponded to the original requirements and were characteristic of the forest-steppe zone, in which the institute is located. So, defined performance indicators of grain drills allow us to make objective conclusions regarding the adaptation and agronomic efficiency of Rapid 400C, Compact-Solitair 9 / 300H, SZM-4 «Nick» grain drills and in accordance realized by them different technological approaches during the sowing of seeds of major crops in the four main systems of tillage.

Agronomic evaluation results show that all the grain drills provided seeding of winter wheat with satisfactory levels of quality in all four treatment systems: as on traditional system based on plowing, and on systems providing minimum processing with deep, shallow and surface soil loosening. At the same, the following performance measures of grain drills at every stage of winter wheat growing were received.

SOWING:

Tillage systems, on which sowing of winter wheat was provided, as noted above, characterized by different levels of soil density, the availability of crop residues on the surface of the field and ridgeness. At the same time, according to the average moisture content of the upper layer of the soil, an average depth of seeding for all treatment options have been established, which slightly adjusted from one option to another.

Under these conditions, uniformity of seeding depth of SZM-4 «Nick» grain drill (the proportion of seeds embedded in a layer of medium depth, and two adjacent layers (1 cm) was the highest among the studied grain drills (from 76% to 86% depending on the processing system) that almost meets the initial requirements — at least 80%. Combined-sowing tillage units (Rapid 400C and Compact-Solitair 9 / 300H) in terms of uniformity of seed placement depth are shade worse compared to the specialized grain drill and provide accommodation of only 50?60% of the seeds in optimal soil layer.

SEED GERMINATION:

As is well known seed field germination depends on the number of seeds placed in the optimum soil layer (the previous criteria), moisture reserves, wich are affected by the processing system and the climatic conditions in the first 10?15 days after sowing.

Germination of winter wheat seeds sown by listed units in our case varied widely and was generally 50?85%. High field germination obtained during sowing by Compact-Solitair 9 / 300H combined unit — above 80% and at the same time it was almost not affected by processing system (range 4%). Second highest rate have shown the Rapid 400C universal grain drill — field germination averaged 76.5%, but depending on the processing systems and varied from 83% in the traditional system of processing up to 72% on a system with Mini-till elements (11% span). Extremely dry conditions in autumn of 2011 did not allow none of the basic soil cultivation systems, even with a high uniformity of seed depth placement by SZM — 4 «Nika» grain drill, to get high field germination of wheat seeds (54?59%). But the stability of this indicator (range 5%) of SZM — 4 grain drill was equal to the Compact-Solitair 9 / 300H unit.

VEGETATION:

Inequality in the distribution of plants along the length of row is the resultant indicator of the quality of the grain drills as a whole, as it depends on the stability of its sowing unit and the opportunity of coulter group to create optimal conditions for seed germination and plant development.

All grain drills provided high quality on this indicator and satisfied the agronomic requirements (no more than 60%). In Compact-Solitair 9 / 300H grain drills it was 50?58%, at SZM-4 «Nika», despite the low germination in dry conditions of 2011, were obtained slightly better results — 46?53%, and the highest were in Rapid 400C — 34?53%. But in the Swedish version this can be explained by a smaller width of spaces between rows 12.5 cm versus 15.0 cm in other two grain drills, which at the same seeding rate due to the smaller number of seedlings on one linear meter row automatically reduces unevenness.

HARVEST:

As for the formation of the value of actual yields, then we should also note that it is affected, except the quality of seeding, by three main factors: the cultivar potential yield, the auspiciousness of a particular vegetation period (including the provision of moisture and temperature conditions) and the overall level of cultivation technology and fertilizers.

Since in all four versions of processing systems have been made the calculated NPK dose for the harvest at the maximum cultivar potential yield, obtained at the experimental strain-testing stations, and all manufacturing operations were conducted in accordance with the custom-designed technology cards for each processing system on time and at the level of the established requirements, we can assume that the final harvest was only affect by the quality of the sowing and weather conditions of the growing season.

To mitigate the impact on the level of realization of cultivar potential yield, according to the European method of MARS program, the institute calculated temperature index and the index of the moisture content for each growing season. Using these indices was calculated the coefficient of favorable year, which is shown in Table 2.

Using given methodological approaches has allowed us to isolate the impact of technological operations of seedbed preparation and sowing, which implements by a particular grain drill, by comparing the cultivar potential yield and actually received and comprehensively assess sowing units through the estimated coefficient of implementation of the grain drills technologic at various primary tillage systems and to establish the level of adaptability of grain drills to various processing systems, which is calculated from the average value of the potential coefficient multiplied by 100%
Thus the level of adaptation of Rapid 400C grain drill is the highest among the studied units and is 86.8%, and coefficient of processing systems realization of the potential and technology shows that in this grain drill it grows with minimizing the number of treatments and the depth of 0,825 — on the traditional system to the 0,872 — on — mini-till, ie this grain drill is more adapted for planting on backgrounds with minimal processing without overturning.

Unlike the previous one, Compact-Solitair 9 / 300H grain drill is a little more adapted to work in the traditional system or after deep loosening of soil, since the coefficient of technologic in this case is the largest and is, accordingly, 0.920 and 0.913. In general, by the level of adaptation Compact-Solitair 9 / 300H grain drill gained 84.7%. Slightly below the value of adaptation is quite logical, since as part of the seed grain drill is used Solitair unit, which was created for planting in the traditional tillage systems.

In the SZM «Nika-4» grain drill technological factor was quite consistent across all versions and was the largest in the traditional system (0.899), and then falls as the minimization of treatments number and depth (up to 0,820 on the mini-till). In terms of adaptation to different processing systems (86.0%) SZM-4 «Nika» grain drill is at a high level between Rapid 400C and Compact-Solitair 9 / 300H sowing units.

Thus, according to the results of a comparative agronomic field evaluation of adaptability and efficiency of grain drills from different manufacturers with different technological approaches to seedbed preparation and sowing of winter wheat in the four variants of processing systems can conclude the following:

— All investigated modern different technological approaches on seedbed preparation and seeding implemented by Rapid 400C universal mechanical grain drill manufactured by Vaderstadt (Sweden), Compact-Solitair 9 / 300H combined-sowing tillage unit manufactured by LEMKEN (Germany) and SZM «Nika 4» mechanical grain drill produced by «Veles-Agro» (Ukraine), are able to provide source-level requirements of high quality execution of winter wheat seeding process on chernozem prepared for planting, as in the traditional system based on plowing, and on systems that provide minimally processed with deep, shallow and surface soil loosening;

— Combined-sowing tillage units (Rapid 400C and Compact-Solitair 9 / 300H) in dry conditions, observed in recent years at the time of winter wheat sowing, provided a slightly higher level of field germination than single-purpose grain drills (SZM -4 «Nika»), by combining the two operations and reducing evaporation of moisture. At the same time the grain drills SZM -4 «Nika» provides a more stable level of field germination, which allows us to implement various technological approaches to the cultivation of the soil;

— By the adaptation level to different processing systems all grain drills are at a fairly high level, they are characterized by average index of 85% and a little differ from each other in the range of 1?2%;

— Available on the market sowing units, both foreign and domestic production, under proper configuration are able to provide a high level of implementation of the yield potential of the selected cultivars of winter wheat with different tillage systems.

Table 1

Attribute name

Attribute value of Rаpіd 400C grain drill

Attribute value of Compact-Solitair 9/300H grain drill

Attribute value of «Nika» grain drill

Company and country of production

Type

Tractor-dragged

Tractor-dragged

Tractor-dragged/mounted

Coverage, m

4

3

4

Swipe on the coverage of model line, m

4?9

3?5

4?6

Row width, cm

12,5

15

15

Tanker

in coverage width

central

in coverage width

Sowing apparatus type

Mechanical, roller for each coulter

Central/mechanical and pneumatic distributor head

Mechanical, roller for each coulter

Sowing apparatus drive

Mechanical by support wheel

Electric with a distance sensor

Mechanical by support wheel

Coulter suspension

Radial with elastic fastening

Paralelogramm

Radial

Copying mechanism

From a group of support-press-wheels through

From individual support-press wheel

From individual back support-press wheel

Coulter

Disc-anchor

Double-disk

Double-disk with spaced discs

Penetrating force on the coulter, kg

70

10?40

30?70

Penetrating force adjusting

Not adjustable

Group, hydraulic

Individual, mechanical

Table 2

Working conditions and agronomic performance indicators of Rаpid 400C, Compact-Solitair 9/300H and MGD-4 «Nika» grain drills
In variations of processing systems on winter wheat

Attribute

Rаpіd 400C attribute value

Compact-Solitair 9/300H attribute value

SZM-4 «Nika» attribute value

Requirements

According to tests in variants of processing systems

Requirements

According to tests in variants of processing systems

Requirements

According to tests in variants of processing systems

traditional

traditional

mulching

мini-till

traditional

preserving

mulching

мini-till

traditional

preserving

mulching

мini-till

Vegetation period, years

2009?2010

2010?2011

2011?2012

Cultivar and yield potential, (cultivar trials data)

Podolyanka,

90 c/ha

Knopa,

90 c/ha

Smuglyanka,

110 c/ha

Year friendlyness coefficient of moisture and temperature conditions

0,95

0,56

0,95

0,64

0,95

0,72

Expected annual yield, c/ha

50

58

80

Soil moisture over the layers, %

No more than 25,0

0?5 cm

6,4

7,8

6,7

11,0

19,1

14,9

16,5

15,3

7,6

7,4

10,4

8,4

5,1?10,0 cm

15,0

14,8

11,8

12,2

17,5

19,5

19,0

20,0

13,8

16,3

9,4

11,9

Hardness of the soil over the layers, MPa

No more than 2,5

0?5 cm

0,2

0,5

0,2

0,8

0,5

0,4

0,4

0,7

0,7

0,6

0,6

0,4

5,1?10,0 cm

0,4

0,8

1,2

2,4

0,5

0,5

1,6

1,8

1,1

0,9

1,2

1,7

Mass of crop residues on the surface of the field, g/m2

0

60

108

117

1

71

77

107

0

75

76

98

Row width, cm

12,5

15,0

15,0

Depth of seeds burying, cm

6,0?8,0

7,6

7,8

7,3

5,5

3,0?8,0

7,9

7,9

7,5

8,0

3,0?8,0

8,4

8,0

7,3

6,7

Quantity of seeds buried in average depth layer and two adjacent layers, %

Not less than 80,0

87

50

53

55

Not less than 80,0

60

54

60

60

Not less than 80,0

85

73

86

76

Field germination, %

Not less than 80

83

74

77

72

Not less than 80

82

80

84

81

Not less than 80

59

55

54

57

Inequality in the distribution seedlings along the length of row, %

No more than 60

38

34

53

49

No more than 60

58

58

54

50

No more than 60

46

49

49

53

Grain yield, c/ha

50

43,6

41,1

42,0

42,4

58

53,0

52,6

45,6

43,8

80

71,2

68,8

67,2

65,1

Estimated realization coefficient of drills manufacturability at various basic soil cultivation systems

1

0,825

0,843

0,862

0,872

1

0,920

0,913

0,792

0,760

1

0,899

0,868

0,848

0,820

Adaptation of drills to different types of soil cultivation, %

86,8

84,7

86,0