Effects of Tractor Forward Speeds on Mulching Depths Using Different Tractor Mounted Mulcher Blades
Keywords:Oil Palm Fronds, Mulcher Blades, Mulching, Mulching Depth, Tractor Forward, Speeds,
Currently, pruned oil palm fronds (OPF) are underused and their existence on palm plantation has created a significant issue of disposal. On immature and young mature palm trees, rhinoceros beetles are the serious pest. This harm created by the pest resulted in greater crop loss owing to beetle harm in the first year of harvest. The tractor mounted mulcher blade produced by Howard Company is currently used in mulching the OPF. The implement performance is low in pulverizing palm fronds and thus discouraged farmers from patronizing the implement. Blades being the main critical component of the device were reworked in terms of geometry and lifting corners to compare the efficiency of the blades with the initial one as control in terms of mulching depth and real tractor forward speeds. Four distinct blade lifting angles (0o, 60o, 120o and 150o), two tractor PTO speeds (540 and 1000 rpm) and three tractor forward speeds (1, 3 and 5 km / h) were used at the Universiti Putra Malaysia oil palm plantation. The statistical analysis based on ANOVA test of significance in Completely Randomized Blocked Design (CRBD) showed significance (P > 0.05) on the mulching depth and actual tractor forward speeds. The ANOVA findings showed that the blade-lifting angle (F=44.02, P=0.0001 (P-value) < 0.05) had highly significant impact on the mulching depth and the tractor forward speeds had significant impact on the actual tractor forward speeds (F value 35.23, P<0.0001 with (P<0.05). The impact on mulching depth of blade lifting angles and tractor forward speeds stated that one of the mean mulching depths was considerably distinct using the mean comparison of Tukey. It is also obvious that tractor forward speeds of 1, 3 and 5 km / h did not have any important effect on oil palm frond pulverization. Conclusively, blade with 120o gave the best mulching depth and tractor forward speed of 0.57 km / h for end users that might be recommended.