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Development and Feasibility of Innovative Relay Seeders for Seeding Wheat into Standing Cotton Using a High Clearance Tractor in Cotton-Wheat System

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 32(4): 341-352. (doi: 10.13031/aea.32.11251) @2016
Authors:   J. S. Mahal, H. S. Sidhu, G. S. Manes, M. L. Jat
Keywords:   Cotton-wheat system, Furrow openers, High clearance tractor, Relay seeder, Relay wheat.

Abstract

Wheat planting after cotton is usually delayed due to late cotton picking and time necessary for seedbed preparation, resulting in low wheat yield. Few farmers sow wheat through broadcasting in standing cotton for timely sowing except on a small scale. This methodology also has limitations of poor germination and low fertilizer use efficiency. To study feasibility of relay seeding of wheat in cotton, two prototypes of innovative relay seeders (RSs) (suitable for 67.5 and 101 cm row spacing) with three types of furrow openers: strip till rotor (STR), zero till inverted T-type (ZTT), and zero till double disc (ZTDD) were developed and evaluated for their performance under two cotton genotypes. The average forward speed of travel of ZTDD openers was 9.3% and 16.6% more compared with STR and ZTT openers, respectively. STR openers consumed more fuel (12.36 L ha-1) than ZTT (8.57 L ha-1) and ZTDD openers (9.15 L ha-1). The field capacity for 12- and 15-row RS was 0.22 and 0.25 ha h-1, respectively. The average power consumption for operating the three types of furrow openers was 6.4 and 8.4 hp for 12- and 15-row RS, respectively. Number of cotton bolls detached from plants due to operation of tractor-mounted RS was significantly lower in 101 cm cotton row spacing compared with 67.5 cm row spacing. Overall loss of cotton bolls due to the movement of tractor and RSs was under 2%. The average number of bolls detached from the plant was about 29% less for ZTDD furrow openers compared with STR and ZTT openers. Germination count of relay seeded wheat with STR and ZTDD furrow openers was 23% and 26% more compared with ZTT openers, respectively. The breakeven point for RS was achieved when total area sown annually exceeded 5 ha and wheat yield gain over the conventional practice is 0.5 t ha-1. This study demonstrates that seeding of wheat in standing cotton is feasible with 4-wheel high clearance tractor-driven innovative RS with cotton damage under 2%.

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