Evaluation of Traditional and Conservation Tillage Methods for Cereal Cultivation in Central Italy
Fanigliulo, R.
Biocca, M.
Pochi, D.
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Fanigliulo R., Biocca M., Pochi D., 2017, Evaluation of Traditional and Conservation Tillage Methods for Cereal Cultivation in Central Italy , Chemical Engineering Transactions, 58, 211-216.
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In Central Italy, traditional soil tillage for winter cereal cultivation is based on medium depth ploughing followed by soil surface harrowing. Such method may cause undesired effects on soil fertility, surface erosion and energy costs. These negative effects can be reduced by shifting to conservation tillage methods, such as reduced tillage, minimum tillage and no-tillage. We performed tests aimed at evaluating the energy demands of eight implements used for tillage and sowing. We measured: working speed, time and working capacity, P.T.O. speed and torque, tractor wheel slip, traction force, fuel consumption and energy demands. The study was conducted at the CREA-IT experimental farm (Monterotondo, Rome), on soil classified as silty-clay according to USDA textural classification, common in Central Italy. Starting from the data of each tested implement, we evaluated four traditional tillage methods (CT1: four-furrow plough, rotary harrow, seeder; CT2: four-furrow plough, disk harrow, seeder; CT3: four-furrow plough, combined seeder; CT4: subsoiler, combined seeder) and four conservation methods (RT1: subsoiler, disk harrow, seeder; RT2: combined cultivator, seeder; MT: disk harrow, seeder; NT: pneumatic drill for direct seeding). All tests were performed using a 205 kW instrumented tractor. The results showed that total energy required by traditional methods was 725, 704, 670 and 537 MJ ha-1 for CT1, CT2, CT3 and CT4, respectively. The conservation methods needed lower energy inputs: 440, 307, 286 and 77 MJ ha-1 for RT1, RT2, MT and NT, respectively. As expected, the no- tillage method (NT) gave the best results in terms of energy savings. Finally, we suggested and discussed an integrated tillage system aimed at optimizing tillage for winter cereals in silty-clay soils.
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