The spading machine as an alternative to the plough for the primary tillage
AbstractA comparison between a traditional ploughing and a spading (performed at different travelling and rotor speeds) was carried out in a paddy field, for evaluating both technical and agronomic parameters (working time, power required, fuel consumption, pulling force, efficiency of crop residues incorporation, etc.). The ploughing showed an effective tillage capacity 51% higher than the faster spading, and a reduction ranging between 20.8 and 44.1% of fuel consumption per surface unit. On the contrary, the spading machine requested no or minimum pulling force, making possible its use even in critical conditions, as for example on wet soil. On the other hand, the spading machine shows clear advantages under the agronomic point of view: in fact it does not create the typical compact layer at the bottom of the working depth, which reduces the root penetration and does not allow the capillary circulation of the solution into the soil. Indeed, in the paddy field the creation of a compact layer is able to reduce the water consumption, so it is not considered a problem to be solved. In any case, the spading machine better managed the crop residues, because they were mixed along the completely tilled layer.
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