Vertical tillage parameters to optimize energy consumption
Keywords:depth plowing, tillage, chisel plow, energy consumption, critical depth
Proper selection and correct use of machinery in agriculture must be understood as a component of a process which aims to optimize crop yield and to make a more efficient use of resources. The objective of this study was the assessment of different chisel plow body arrangements using different settings of the most important operating parameters for tillage work in order to optimize energy consumption for vertical tillage. The influence of different operating parameters of tillage tools on the performance in cultivation practice must be considered before applying deep plowing for a more efficient use of energy. The parameters considered in this study were: 1) working depth based in the critical depth theory 2) position and spacing of chisels 3) number of bodies and 4) usage of wings or sweeps. The field work was divided into five different groups of chisel arrangements and a control group. The field experiment was performed using an articulated chisel plow prototype allowing the setting of those operation parameters, an integral force transducer with three extended octagonal rings to measure the draft forces (kN) and a perfilometer to determine the cross-sectional area of soil disturbed (m2) in terms of specific resistance of the soil (kN/m2) were used. The total energy consumption for disturbed soil area (MJ ha-1) was determined assessing the area under the curve generated by draft force using Matlab R2012b V software.
The results shown that the best arrangement for vertical deep tillage was the one integrated by four shallow chisels working at 0.20 m and two deep winged chisel at 0.30 m when compared with the integral arrangements of seven chisels working at the same depth of 0.30 m. A significant savings up to 23.9% in the total energy consumed, 40% in power demand and 38.7% in the specific soil resistance was obtained with an increase of 7.35% in disturbed soil area.
The best arrangement for vertical deep tillage was the T13 treatment (four shallow chisels at 0.20 m and two deep winged at 0.30 m) when compared with the integral arrangements T15 (seven chisels at the same deep of 0.30 m) the results have shown highly significant savings up to 23.9% in the total energy consumed, 40% in power demand, and 38.7% in the specific soil resistance, with a non-significant increase of 7.35% in disturbed soil area.