Comparative tillage costs for crop rotations utilizing minimum tillage on a farm scale

Citation
Ch. Sijtsma et al., Comparative tillage costs for crop rotations utilizing minimum tillage on a farm scale, SOIL TILL R, 49(3), 1998, pp. 223-231
Citations number
28
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Agriculture/Agronomy
Journal title
SOIL & TILLAGE RESEARCH
ISSN journal
0167-1987 → ACNP
Volume
49
Issue
3
Year of publication
1998
Pages
223 - 231
Database
ISI
SICI code
0167-1987(199812)49:3<223:CTCFCR>2.0.ZU;2-A
Abstract
Minimum tillage systems have been promoted for their soil conservation bene fits, however, profitability is a major factor governing the adoption of so il conserving practices. Under conditions of similar crop productivity and input (i.e., fertilizer and pesticide) use, tillage costs become the key de terminant of profitability. Two studies were conducted to assess tillage co sts within regions of eastern Canada. In the first study, fuel consumption and tractor drawbar energy for specific tillage implements and minimum till age were determined on a sandy loam Podzolic soil in Prince Edward Island. The second study, tillage cost scenarios on a farm scale (360 ha) were eval uated for different minimum tillage systems, applicable to Atlantic Canada, within a three-year potato (Solanum tuberosum L.)-barley (Hordeum vulgare L.)-forage rotation, and a barley-soybean (Glycine mar L. Merr.) rotation. An instrumented tractor fitted with transducers indicated that fuel usage f or seedbed preparation and crop establishment was lower with several minimu m tillage practices (10.0-23.7 l ha(-1)), than conventional mouldboard plou ghing (27.6 l ha(-1)). Tractor drawbar energy was also greater under the co nventional mouldboard ploughed system (140.4 MJ ha(-1)), in comparison with minimum tillage (53.3-127.3 MJ ha(-1)). For the tillage cost scenarios in both rotations, the calculated cost differences were based on estimated cha nges in both capital costs of tillage equipment and overall operating costs . Conventional mouldboard ploughing combined with secondary tillage was the most costly tillage system in both rotations. Replacement of the mouldboar d plough with various combinations of alternative tillage systems (e.g., ch isel plough, disc harrow, power harrow) provided annual tillage cost saving s of 44-60% for the three-year potato rotation, and 10-40% for the barley-s oybean rotation. Based on the assumption that tillage is the only variable input cost (i.e., absence of yield penalties or differences in other input cost variables), the adoption of various minimum tillage practices would be more economical than the conventional mouldboard ploughing system. (C) 199 8 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.