Trash Flow Problems?
Blockages are a major issue at seeding time for Australian growers. Crop residues and stubble builds up around seeding implements and drags, creating an uneven seedbed and leaving seed exposed. The Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation in a recent report on the issue finds that “blockages become an increasing issue when stubble loads are above three tonne per hectare (3t/ha).” When faced with heavy stubble loads, farmers turn to many different management methods.
- Burning off is becoming more and more frowned upon by society and results in the loss of valuable nutrients.
- Conventional deep tillage methods such as offset discs or multi-disc type implements will tend to bury the stubble around 3-4 inches deep. Here, it will break down but very slowly, as the microbial activity at this depth is minimal.
- Those with disc seeders will tend to leave the stubble standing and direct drill. This does ensure good trash flow but standing stubble has been proven to provide a habitat for disease.
- Knockdown and Shallow Incorporation of stubble will ensure it remains in the high microbial activity area – the uppermost 1-2 inches of the soil. In this area, the stubble will break down quickly providing an excellent layer of mulch improving moisture retention.
In our experience, this Strategic Tillage process compounds every season, as increased microbial activity provides a faster stubble breakdown.
Much of the development of the Disc Chain concept has been based around this concept with differing weights allowing for the same level of penetration (1-2 inches) in a wide range of soil types. The light Dog Leg Chain is a great option for those with fragile soils as it crimps and bruises the stubble without disturbing the soil. At the other end of the scale, the DC90 allows tilth creation and stubble mulching in the hardest of Australian soils.
Having to stop and physically deal with air-seeder blockages puts a lot of pressure on already packed planting schedules. Put your best foot forward by getting on top of your crop residues early, and enjoy a smooth seeding process.