Effects of tillage systems and mechanization on work time, fuel and energy consumption for cereal cropping in Austria
Keywords:fuel consumption, mechanization, tillage system, work time
The machinery stock, fuel consumption and work time are crucial economic factors for the profit potential in the arable farming sector. The influence of five soil tillage systems (two conventional tillage systems and three conservation tillage systems) and two tractor sizes (92 kW-tractor and 59 kW-tractor) on work time, fuel and energy consumption was measured in the semi-arid region in Austria. The tractors were equipped with a high-performance flow meter and a radar sensor to measure the fuel consumption (L h-1) and working speed (km h-1). The conventional tillage with mouldboard plough has the highest working time and fuel consumption rate. The replacement of plough with a cultivator, reduces the work time and fuel consumption for soil tillage as well as the energy consumption per moved soil matter to more than 50% roughly. The highest saving effects (more than 85%) were achieved with the direct drilling without soil tillage system. A well loaded engine in a small tractor with small implements is more fuel efficient than a worse loaded engine in a “big tractor”. An adjusted tractor-implement combination, which is well implemented in the 59-kW mechanization, decreases the fuel consumption to up to 30% and 46%. Due to lower field capacity in the 59-kW mechanization, the work time is higher between 2.4% and 11.7%.
Keywords: fuel consumption, mechanization, tillage system, work time