Okechukwu Oduma


Abstract: A research was conducted at the demonstration farms of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State and Veterinary School, Ezzangbo, Ebnonyi State in 2017; to assess the effect of soil physical properties on the performance of some selected agricultural field machineries in the tropical region of Nigeria. Results of the effect of the soil textural class/ type on implement performances revealed that the average efficiency of the implements was highest on sandy-clay soil with average efficiency of 87.35% and the least was loamy-sandy soil that gave an average efficiency of 86.21%. It was observable from the results that the highest average moisture content of 17.7% was recorded for all the \soils before tillage; but after tillage; ploughing recorded 16.3% moisture content; harrowing, ridging, pulverization and planting in that order had 15.455, 14.70%, 14.23% and 14.13% respectively. The reduction in the moisture content during the field operations promotes the workability of the soil. The highest moisture contents observed for the plough as compared to other implements was attributed to high compaction associated with ploughing operation which decelerates infiltration rate. Results further showed that the bulk density of the soils reduced with the application of the implements. Prior to the field operations, the average bulk density of the soil was 1.62g/cm3, but when the implements were applied, there was shortfall in the bulk densities in which ploughing gave 1.48g/cm3, harrowing recorded 1.40g/cm3, ridging (1.33g/cm3), rotovator (1.29g/cm3) and planter recorded 1.35g/cm3. The reduction in the bulk density of the soil enhances the field performances of the implements by reducing the resistance to the penetration of the implements and also improves the soil for proper root penetration. The effect of porosity on the implements performance followed opposite trend as bulk density. The lowest porosity was observed in untilled soil with average porosity of 48.30%; on the application of the field machineries, the porosity of the soils increased to 49.68% after ploughing, 53.43% after harrowing, 54.11% after pulverization, 54.14% after ridging and 53.67% after planting. The increase in the porosity of the soil during operation provided it is within the acceptable limit for machine operation improves the workability of the soil enhances the water infiltration rate and promotes implements penetration to the soil. Finally, the statistical analysis (ANOVA) conducted on the effect of soil physical properties on the implement performances showed significant difference at 5% level of probability.



Keywords: Field machineries, performances, physical properties, soil, tropical region.

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