Electronic Journal of Polish Agricultural Universities (EJPAU) founded by all Polish Agriculture Universities presents original papers and review articles relevant to all aspects of agricultural sciences. It is target for persons working both in science and industry,regulatory agencies or teaching in agricultural sector. Covered by IFIS Publishing (Food Science and Technology Abstracts), ELSEVIER Science - Food Science and Technology Program, CAS USA (Chemical Abstracts), CABI Publishing UK and ALPSP (Association of Learned and Professional Society Publisher - full membership). Presented in the Master List of Thomson ISI.
2017
Volume 20
Issue 4
Topic:
Agricultural Engineering
ELECTRONIC
JOURNAL OF
POLISH
AGRICULTURAL
UNIVERSITIES
Walczykova M. , Zagórda M. 2017. THE POSSIBILITIES OF REDUCING THE COMPACTED FIELD AREA IN SELECTED CROP ROTATION, EJPAU 20(4), #13.
Available Online: http://www.ejpau.media.pl/volume20/issue4/art-13.html

THE POSSIBILITIES OF REDUCING THE COMPACTED FIELD AREA IN SELECTED CROP ROTATION

Maria Walczykova, Mirosław Zagórda
Department of Machinery Management, Ergonomics and Production Processes, Faculty of Production and Power Engineering, University of Agriculture in Krakow, Poland

 

ABSTRACT

The aim of the study was to examine the possibility of reducing the compacted area in the field where winter wheat, maize, and winter rape are grown in 3-year crops rotation. For this the following ways were applied: (1) design of the traffic lanes in such a way as to get the maximum coverage of the resulting tramlines through adjusting of some parameters of the machinery owned by the farmer, where the adjustment referred to the tractors wheel track, and partly to the machinery working widths; (2) switching to the reduced tillage; (3) investing into new machinery, that would make possible implementation of the controlled traffic farming system. The proposed traffic lanes establishment, using the machinery existing on the examined farm, and switching to the reduced tillage, resulted in a considerable increase of the area free of traffic. However, the implementation of these solutions requires registration in the navigation panel of all machines tracks in the first year of operation, according to the designed layout, to make the return to the same tracks in the following seasons possible. The accurate RTK correction is inevitable.

Key words: CTF, field crops, reduction of the compacted area, tramlines establishment, RTK correction.

INTRODUCTION

The efficiency of the use of agricultural machinery directly affects crops production costs. The development of agricultural technology for many years has gone in the direction of increasing the working width, increasing the power of equipment, or construction improvements. It seems that a limit has been reached, beyond which the increase of the mentioned parameters will not significantly increase the efficiency, and the heavy machinery negatively affects the soil. For many years, the effects of increased soil compaction and associated tillage repair treatments have been a concern for the condition of agricultural soil. Already in the first years of this millennium, it was reported that, in Europe, there are over 33 million hectares of compacted soil. There is overwhelming evidence from research, that the compaction created by vehicles running at random over the soil has a universally negative outcome. It leads to increased energy demands, increased loss of moisture and organic matter, poor crop germination and growth, and poor infiltration of water, water holding capacity, drainage, and gaseous exchange [8]. Compaction reduces the yield by 10–20%, and soil porosity can be reduced by 70% [4, 19]. The increase in the dimensions and weight of the machines is being overcome by improving the running mechanisms (better tires, tandem, tracks) to reduce the pressure [1]. It has long been known that the pressure in the upper layer depends on the wheel specific pressure, and the pressure in the deeper layers depends on the vehicle weight [20], which has been many times confirmed in the studies [3, 19, 23]. It means, that the subsoil compaction is also increasing, and its alleviation is expensive because of the high energy demand for tillage treatments [18].

As early as 1982, Soane [21] states that in the reduced tillage, after 2–3 passes, about 60% of the field surface is covered by the wheels. In the case of conventional tillage, this area is at a random traffic pattern of almost 100%, with a large part of the field being wheeled several times [17, 24]. The cycle of compacting of the soil, and removing the compaction, still characteristic for agriculture production, means the inefficient use of inputs.

This requires developing strategies to avoid or minimize soil damage. The solution to this problem offers, among others, the controlled traffic farming system (CTF) that is based on a machinery management system that confines all field vehicles to the least possible area of permanent traffic lanes. According to Chamen [9], there is a difference between controlled traffic and controlled traffic farming, as the second one is a whole system that optimises all aspects of the crop production system, not just the traffic management. The following requirements must be met if CTF system is to be implemented, as the Australian Controlled Traffic Association defines them:

All machines have the same or modular working width and wheel track so that traffic is confined to the smallest possible area of permanent tramlines, the available machinery is used for controlled traffic.

All machines require a navigation accuracy of ±2 cm (RTK); only such a system will provide guidance for permanent tramlines in particular years of use.

Permanent tramlines must be properly designed, so that they do not accumulate water and be proper also in terms of logistics.

There are several layouts of the CTF system, based on standard agricultural machinery presented by Chamen [8] and Vermeulen et al. [25], among others:

  1. ComTrac is a system that uses a single common track width to match that of the widest vehicle (usually the harvester). Implements can be any common width or direct multiple of it.
  2. HalfTrac is a system with two track widths, one exactly half the width of the other. Implement widths are a direct multiple of one or other of the track widths.
  3. TwinTrac is a system that uses two track widths. The wider track straddles adjacent passes of the narrower track. Implement width is the addition of the two track widths or a direct multiple of it.
  4. OutTrac is a system that uses a single common standard track width for all machinery, except the widest vehicle (usually the harvester) that runs outside the permanent tramlines. Implements can be any common width or direct multiple.
  5. AdTrac is a system with two track widths, the narrower using one track of the wider, resulting in an additional track. Implements can be any common width or direct multiple of it.

In Australia, this is a cost-effective innovation in agricultural land use that brings significant agronomic and environmental benefits [12]. Based on Australian experience, also in Poland on Rolman farm permanent tramlines are successfully used [13]. As a result of the CTF system, the profit for a typical farm can increase by up to 50%, and one of the important aspects of this technology is the beneficial effect on yield and quality [16]. The results of investigation carried out by Galambošová et al. [11] suggest that CTF systems have the potential to increase production sustainability in arable farming systems in central Europe. This conclusion is supported by the findings that the adoption of CTF, using commercially available machinery, can reduce the cropped area affected by traffic by more than 50%, compared with random traffic systems. They estimated that yield improvements of up to 0.5 t per ha at cultivation of wheat, maize, barley and rape may be possible when converting from random traffic to CTF. This can improve gross revenues by up to 117 USD ha-1. Based on the four-year experimental results, they stated that the main benefit of CTF appears to be enhanced agronomic stability of the system. Similar reports are in the works of Chamen [10] and in experiments conducted in different parts of Europe [22]. For example, yields of wheat in England, the Netherlands, and Germany show variations ranging from -9% to +25%. Vermeulen and Chamen [25], on the basis of an extensive review of the research in this area, reported, that CTF implementation usually resulted in a 10–20% increase in yield, which has taken place practically in any one year. Economic evaluation made by Jensen et al. [15] shows that the CTF system can have a significant impact on fuel economy due to the lack of overlaps, as a result of accurate guidance, and easier manoeuvring with tractors and machines in the field. It is well known that the field efficiency of the machinery has a direct impact on costs. Bochtis et al. [6] pointed out the need to pay particular attention to the direction of the tramlines, since the generally accepted principle of using the direction parallel to the longest field edge here is not applicable, and this can cause a decrease in machine performance and thus increase in operating costs. Bochtis [7] also mentions such drawbacks as the loss of cropped area due to permanent wheel tracks and the cost of maintaining them, as well as the need to purchase new equipment.

Summing up, it can be stated that there are many pros and cons to this system. On one hand, it results in reduced operating costs and greater environmental benefits through better soil health, such as improved soil structure and drainage, reduced water erosion, less greenhouse gas emission, better fertiliser use efficiency, and the reduced need for subsoiling [2, 5, 8, 9, 14]. In addition to the above mentioned drawbacks reported by Bochtis [7], there are also concerns and constraints to its adoption. These include the lack of appropriate machinery (incompatibility of existing equipment, either in track width, implement width, or both), and that farmers rarely see the negative outcomes of compaction in the main body of fields. Because farmers cannot conceive that CTF delivers any benefits, the need for more discipline and planning with CTF and devising ways of improving in-field efficiency are needed. These concerns and constraints, among others, tend to lessen CTF use [8, 9]. However, there are signs that this is changing. Companies like CaseIH, Claas, John Deere and others are now offering equipment that delivers directly to the needs of CTF farmers. In some cases, customized equipment is offered [9].

OBJECTIVE AND SCOPE OF RESEARCH

The aim of the study was to examine the possibility of reducing the compacted area in the field where winter wheat, maize, and winter rape grown in 3-year crops rotation. The reduction of the compacted area was attempted by the following ways:

  1. By the design of the traffic lanes in such a way as to get the maximum coverage of the resulting tramlines through adjusting some parameters of the machinery owned by the farmer, i.e. the adjustment referred to the tractors wheel track, and partly to the machinery working widths
  2. By switching to the reduced tillage, leaving out ploughing; and,
  3. By investing into new machinery that would make possible the implementation of the controlled traffic farming system.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The subject of analysis were technologies and machinery used in growing winter wheat (Tab. 1) and maize (Tab. 2) on a commercial farm, cooperating with the Institute of Machine Management, Ergonomics and Production Processes.

The technology of growing winter rape is similar in the number and type of treatments to that of wheat, so it was taken into account only in the last phase, when drawing the wheelways in the field for a period of 3 years, in order to get the area free of wheeling.

Table 1. Treatments in the currently used conventional technology in the winter wheat production and technical parameters of the existing machinery on the farm.
No
Treatments
Machine unit
Wheel track
[m]
Tire width [m]
(t) tractor front/rear
(m)
machine
Working width
[m]
1
Ploughing
Fendt 936 Vario + Lemken Juwel 8
2.05
(t) 0.60/0.71
(m)
0.34
2.76
2
P fertilization
Claas Arion 520 + Bogballe M2W Plus
1.64
0.38/0.42
20.00
3
K fertilization
Claas Arion 520 + Bogballe M2W Plus
1.64
0.38/0.42
20.00
4
Sowing
John Deere 6210 R + Horsch Pronto 4DC
1.82
0.60/0.71*
4.00
5
Spraying
Claas Arion 520 + Bury Pelikan Hydraulik
1.64
(t) 0.38/0.42
(m) 0.345
20.00
6
N fertilization
Claas Arion 520 + Bury Pelikan Hydraulik
1.64
(t) 0.38/0.42
(m) 0.345
20.00
7
Spraying
Claas Arion 520 + Bury Pelikan Hydraulik
1.64
(t) 0.38/0.42
(m) 0.345
20.00
8
Spraying
Claas Arion 520 + Bury Pelikan Hydraulik
1.64
(t) 0.38/0.42
(m) 0.345
20.00
9
Spraying
Claas Arion 520 + Bury Pelikan Hydraulik
1.64
(t) 0.38/0.42
(m) 0.345
20.00
10
Harvest
Claas Lexion 760
2.82
0.64/0.60
7.70
11
Stubble cultivation
Fendt 936 Vario + Pöttinger Terra Disc 6000
2.05
0.60/0.71
6.00
* The seed drill wheels not included, they are part of the treatment

Table 2. Treatments in the currently used conventional technology in the corn production and technical parameters of the existing machinery on the farm
No
Treatments
Machine unit
Wheel track
[m]
Tire width [m]
(t) tractor front/rear
(m) machine
Working width
[m]
1
Ploughing
Fendt 936 Vario + Lemken Juwel 8
2.05
(t) 0.60/0.71(m) 0.34
3.30
2
K fertilization
Claas Arion 520 + Bogballe M2W Plus
1.64
0.38/0.42
18.00
3
Pre-sowing tillage
Fendt 936 Vario + Pöttinger Terra Disc 6000
2.05
0.60/0.71
6.00
4
Sowing  + N fertilization
John Deere 6210 R + Vaderstad Tempo F6
1.82
(t) 0.60/0.71(m) 0.292
4.50
5
Spraying
Claas Arion 520 + Bury Pelikan Hydraulik
1.64
(t) 0.38/0.42(m) 0.345
18.00
6
N fertilization
Claas Arion 520 + Bury Pelikan Hydraulik
1.64
(t) 0.38/0.42(m) 0.345
18.00
7
Spraying
Claas Arion 520 + Bury Pelikan Hydraulik
1.64
(t) 0.38/0.42(m) 0.345
18.00
8
Harvest
Claas Lexion 760
2.82
0.64/0.60
6.00
9
Stubble cultivation
Fendt 936 Vario + Pöttinger Terra Disc 6000
2.05
0.60/0.71
6.00

For both technologies, a diagram of the layout of the tractors and combine wheel tracks, together with the width of the tires (Fig. 1), was presented in a AUTOCAD® 2015 computer program, and the patterns of lanes on the field (or the traffic pattern), as currently carried out on the farm in growing wheat and maize, was drawn (Fig. 2 and 3). The dimension 0.75 m in Figure 1 corresponds to the width of the rows in the cultivation of maize (similarly in Fig. 4, 13). In Figures 2 and 3, as well as in Figures 5–12 and 14, the white areas show a surface free of tractor and machine passages, black colour corresponds to the permanent tramlines, and the remaining colours present areas with different number of passes. If a colour is missing in a Figure, it means that it is covered by passing another machine.

Fig. 1. The wheel track of tractors and harvester used currently on the farm

Fig. 2. The traffic pattern in the currently used conventional technology of the winter wheat cultivation

Fig. 3. The traffic pattern in the currently used conventional technology of the maize cultivation

Then, for both crops, two configurations for the most important aspects, i.e. the dimensions of tractors and machines for the conventional as well as for the reduced tillage, were proposed (Tab. 3).

Table 3. The proposed configurations of the most important dimensions of the existing machinery on the farm to reduce the compacted area of the field
Specific.
Winter wheat
Maize
conventional tillage
reduced tillage
conventional tillage
reduced tillage
Configuration I
three wheel tracks: two for the tractors, one for the harvester;
working widths: ploughing 3 m; drill with the tilling set 4m; spreader and sprayer
18 m, harvester 7.7 m
three wheel tracks: two for tractors, one for the harvester;
working widths: tilling set 6 m; drill 4 m, spreader and sprayer 18 m, harvester 7.7 m
three wheel tracks: two for the tractors, one for the harvester;
working widths: ploughing 3 m; tilling set 6 m, drill 6 m, spreader and sprayer
18 m, harvester 6 m
three wheel tracks: two for the tractors, one for the harvester;
working widths: tilling set 6 m, drill 6 m, spreader and sprayer
18 m, harvester 6 m
Configuration II
three wheel tracks: two for the tractors, one for the harvester; working widths: ploughing 3 m; drill with the tilling set 4m; spreader and sprayer*24 m, harvester 7.7 m
three wheel tracks: two for the tractors, one for the harvester;
working widths: tilling set 6 m; drill 4 m, spreader and sprayer* 24 m, harvester 7.7 m
three wheel tracks: two for tractors, one for the harvester;
working widths: ploughing 3 m; tilling set 6 m, drill 6 m, spreader and sprayer* 24 m, harvester 6 m
three wheel tracks: two for tractors, one for the harvester;
working widths: tilling set 6 m, drill 6 m, spreader and sprayer* 24 m, harvester 6 m
* necessary investment

It was assumed that the sprayer and the mineral fertilizer spreader in the first configuration would be 18 m, and in the second 24 m wide, which corresponds to the spacing of the permanent tracks. In the AUTOCAD® 2015 computer program, the machine tracks were designed to get the best possible reduction of the wheeled area for the existing equipment (except for the purchase of a 24 m sprayer, if the second configuration is adopted), and, at the same time, to ensure machinery movement along the same permanent tracks during 3 years of wheat, maize, and winter rape cultivation (Fig. 4). In the case of conventional technology, in Fig. 1 and 4, the track of the tilling set overlaps the track of the ploughing unit.

Then, for the two proposed configurations, the patterns of machinery lanes, resulting from performing of all treatments in technology, were drawn (Fig. 5–12), as it was done for the currently used technologies (Fig. 2, 3). Based on those figures, the following was determined: (1) the overall area covered by all wheels, i.e. the sum of those areas, (2) the overall area of tracks with multiple passages, wheeled at least once, (3) the area of tramlines whose width is assumed to be equal to the width of the tractor wheels working with the spreader and sprayer, and which are proposed to be left as permanent.

Fig. 4. The wheel track of tractors and harvester proposed for the configurations I and II

To guarantee the return exactly to the same tracks in the following seasons, the passes of all machines, according to the designed layout, must be recorded in the panel of the guidance system (the guidance file are set up), when commencing work on the field. In this case, the Trimble CFX-750 with EZ-Pilot autosteer and the correction signal from ASG-EUPOS were used for the machinery guidance.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Winter wheat
The area covered by all wheels of the machinery, for all passes as a result of all carried out treatments in the currently used winter wheat cultivation, is 3.2188 ha per hectare (Tab. 4). Taking into account the multiple passes over one track, the compacted area is about 84% of the field area, so only about 16% remains untouched by wheels (Fig. 2, Tab. 4).

In order to keep the cropping traffic on the same tramlines as much as possible (Fig. 3), when implementing the proposed two configurations of the conventional cropping system (with plough) (Tab. 3), it is necessary, apart from having the wheels setting as shown in Figure 4, to adjust the working width of some of the machines when starting work on the field. This is necessary, because the farmer's machinery does not have dimensions that would exactly match the CTF system.

For both, 18 m and 24 m span of tramlines, for the first three runs, the working width of the plough must be adjusted to 2.55 m.

As far as the 6 m tilling set is concern, at 18 m span of tramlines, it can start with a full working width from the field boundary. At 24 m span in the second run, there must be 50% overlap with the first one.

The working width of the 4 m seeder must be reduced to 3 m at first run, when 18 m span of tramlines is applied. In this case, the pattern of machinery tracks between permanent tramlines repeats every 36 m, which is the smallest common multiple of track width 18 m and working width of the seeder of 4 m. The above mentioned does not refer to a 24 m span.

In both cases, harvester runs outside the permanent tramlines.

Fig. 5. The traffic pattern of winter wheat cultivation: conventional tillage, Configuration I, a permanent tramlines of 18 m

Fig. 6. The traffic pattern of winter wheat cultivation: conventional tillage, Configuration II, permanent tramlines of 24 m

Table 4. The field area compacted under different tillage systems and wheel settings in growing winter wheat
Treatment
Conventional tillage  currently used by the farmer 
Modified conventional tillage
Reduced tillage
The area covered by all wheels of tractors and machines
[ha·ha-1]
The area of tracks with multiple passes wheeled at least once
[ha·ha-1]
The area of tracks with multiple passes
[ha·ha-1]
The area of tracks with multiple passes
[ha·ha-1]
18 m
24 m
18 m
24 m
1
1.0725
0.5145
0.4733
0.4733
0.2367
0.2367
2
0.0800
0.0200
0.0067
0.0050
0.0067
0.0050
3
0.0800
4
0.6550
0.1486
0.1308
0.1275
0.1217
0.1208
5
0.1145
6
0.1145
7
0.1145
8
0.1145
9
0.1145
10
0.3221
0.0578
0.0523
0.0588
0.1001
0.1032
11
0.4367
0.0977
0.0017
0.0023
0.0000
0.0000
The area covered by all wheels of tractors and machines overall 
[ha·ha-1]
3.2188
3.2143
3.0108
2.6643
2.4608
The area of tracks with multiple passes overall
[ha·ha-1]
0.8386
0.6648
0.6669
0.4652
0.4657
The area of permanent lanes (tracks of the spreader and sprayer)
[ha·ha-1]
0.0420
0.0467
0.0350
0.0467
0.0350

Changes in the pattern of traffic adopted in configurations I and II within the conventional tillage system allowed for the reduction of the trafficked area (the area of tracks with multiple passes) from 0.8386 ha·ha-1 to 0.6648 and 0.6669 ha·ha-1, for 18 and 24 m spans of the permanent tramlines, respectively (Tab. 4). It means a drop in the compacted area of about 20%. Thus, the area free of wheeling increases in this case up to approximately 33%. The overall area covered by all wheels, which is 3.2143 ha·ha-1, is close the one obtained for the current pattern of traffic, as the number of passages only slightly changed (Tab. 4).

In the case of the adoption reduced tillage in growing winter wheat (Fig. 7 and 8), it was also necessary to plan the initial runs of tilling set and the seeder, and it was done in the same way as described above (except plough that is left out).

Fig. 7. The traffic pattern of winter wheat cultivation: reduced tillage, Configuration I, permanent tramlines of 18 m

Fig. 8. The traffic pattern of winter wheat cultivation: reduced tillage, Configuration II, a permanent tramlines of 24 m

In this case, the area covered by all the wheels decreased from 3.218 ha·ha-1 to approx. 2.5 ha·ha-1, i.e. by about 18%. The area of tracks with multiple passes has decreased by about 45% – from 0.8386 ha·ha-1 to about 0.46 ha·ha-1 (for 18 and 24 m tramlines span), which means the increase of the area without traffic to 53.5% (Tab. 4).

The results obtained for the conventional (plough) tillage and reduced tillage indicate that increasing the working width of the spreader and the sprayer to 24 m, which corresponds to the change in the spacing of the permanent tramlines, has practically no effect on the increase of the uncompact area (Tab. 4). If the working widths of other machines are to remain unchanged, it is not possible to gain greater benefit from increasing the spacing of the permanent tramlines. On the other hand, the area of tramlines, that were to remain permanent, decreased from 0.0467 to 0.0350 ha·ha-1, i.e. of about 25%. The area of seasonal tramlines used on the farm according to the traffic pattern shown in Figures 2 and 3, having 20 m spacing, and for the proposed 18 m permanent tramlines, are similar.

Maize
The area covered by all wheels of the machinery during the treatments carried out in the currently used maize cultivation is 3.3661 ha·ha-1 (Tab. 5). Taking into account the multiple passes over one track, the compacted area is about 73% of the field area, so about 27% remains untouched by wheels (Tab. 5).

The same principles that have been adopted and described in the winter wheat cultivation also apply in the maize cultivation, according to the proposed machinery configurations (Tab. 3).

Table 5. The field area compacted under different tillage systems and wheel settings in growing corn
Treatment Conventional tillage currently used by the farmer 
Modified conventional tillage
Reduced tillage
The area covered by all wheels of tractors and machines
[ha·ha-1]
The area of tracks with multiple passes wheeled at least once
[ha·ha-1]
The area of tracks with multiple passes
[ha·ha-1]
The area of tracks with multiple passes
[ha·ha-1]
18 m 24 m 18 m 24 m
1
0.8969
0.4303
0.4733
0.4733
0.2367
0.2367
2
0.0889
0.0345
0.0067
0.0050
0.0067
0.0050
3
0.4367
0.0863
0.0083
0.0087
0.0000
0.0000
4
0.7120
0.1512
5
0.1272
6
0.1272
7
0.1272
8
0.4133
0.0259
0.0750
0.0750
0.1167
0.1167
9
0.4367
The area covered by all wheels of tractors and machines overall 
[ha·ha-1]
3.3661
3.4559
3.3383
2.9059
2.7883
The area of tracks with multiple passes overall 
[ha·ha-1]
0.7282
0.5633
0.5620
0.3601
0.3584
The area of permanent lanes (tracks of the spreader and sprayer)
[ha·ha-1]
0.0467
0.0467
0.0350
0.0467
0.0350

Changes in the traffic pattern, adopted in configurations I and II within the conventional tillage of maize (Fig. 9 and 10) caused a reduction of the trafficked area (the area of tracks with multiple passes) from 0.7282 ha·ha-1 to 0.5633 and 0.5620 ha·ha-1, for 18 and 24 m span of the permanent tramlines, respectively (Tab. 5). It means a drop in the compacted area of about 20%. Thus, the uncompact field area amounts to approximately 44% in this case.

Fig. 9. The traffic pattern of maize cultivation: conventional tillage, Configuration I, a permanent tramlines of 18 m

Fig. 10. The traffic pattern of maize cultivation: conventional tillage, Configuration II, a permanent tramlines of 24 m

Elimination of ploughing (Fig. 11 and 12) contributed to the reduction of the area covered by all wheels from current 3.3661 ha·ha-1 to 2.9059 and 2.7883 ha·ha-1 (Tab. 5), i.e. of about 16% for 18 and 24 m the spacing of tramlines, respectively.

Fig. 11. The traffic pattern of maize cultivation: reduced tillage, Configuration II, a permanent tramlines of 18 m

Fig. 12. The traffic pattern of maize cultivation: reduced tillage, Configuration II, a permanent tramlines of 24 m

As in the case of wheat cultivation, and for the same reasons, the increase of the spacing of tramlines from 18 m to 24 m did not practically produce a gain in terms of greater uncompact area (Tab. 5).

            The permanent tramlines were designed in such a way as to remain in the same place in the 3-year crop rotation winter wheat-winter rape-maize. As it has already been mentioned, the traffic pattern for winter rape is similar to that of winter wheat. Therefore, in the next step, the traffic patterns of all three crops were superimposed on each other, and the uncompact area was calculated. In the case of modified conventional tillage, it amounted to about 26%, which is similar for both span of permanent tramlines (Tab. 6). As far as reduced tillage is concerned, the area free from wheel runs is 43.41% and 40.37% for 18 m and 24 m permanent tramlines, respectively. For the currently used traffic patterns, after 3 years of cultivation, only 4.5% of the field area remains free of wheeling.

Table 6. The field area compacted and free of wheeling after 3 years of growing winter wheat, maize, and winter rape
Modified conventional tillage
 according to configurations I and II
Reduced tillage
The area of tracks with multiple passes
[ha·ha-1]
The area of tracks with multiple passes
[ha·ha-1]
for 18 m span of tramlines
for 24 m span of tramlines
for 18 m span of tramlines
for 24 m span of tramlines
0.7346
0.7390
0.5659
0.5963
Share of surface free from traffic %
Share of surface free from traffic %
for 18 m
for 24 m
for 18 m
for 24 m
26.54
26.1
43.41
40.37

Considering the existing machinery on the farm in question, the adoption of the OutTrac system would be the most realistic option (Fig. 13). A single common track width is for all machinery, and the harvester runs outside the permanent tramlines. Implements can be any common width or direct multiple. The possible proposed solution is based partly on the existing machinery on the farm in question, which concerns winter wheat cultivation with the use of reduced tillage, and 24 m permanent tramlines (Fig. 14). Adoption of this system would require the following modifications and investment:

These modification will result in the increase of the area free of traffic to 0.7021 ha·ha-1 in one season.

Fig. 13. The wheel track of tractors and harvester for the OutTrac system

Fig. 14. The traffic pattern in OutTrac system: winter wheat, reduced tillage, a permanent tramlines of 24 m

CONCLUSIONS

  1. The proposed changes of the machinery traffic pattern in conventional winter wheat cultivation allowed reducing the area of wheel tracks with multiple passes by about 20% for 18 and 24 m spans of tramlines, so the area free of traffic in this case is approx. 33%.
  2. The transition to reduced tillage in wheat cultivation resulted in a decrease in the area covered by all wheels by approx. 18%, and the area of tracks with multiple passes decreased by approx. 45% for both spans of tramlines. The area free of traffic increased to 53.5%.
  3. Modification of the traffic pattern in conventional tillage of maize cultivation resulted in the reduction of the area of wheel tracks with multiple passes by about 23%.
  4. A shift to the reduced tillage in maize cultivation allowed for about a 16% reduction of the area covered by all wheels. The area of ​​tracks with multiple passes decreased by about 50%, and the result is approx. 65% of the area free of traffic.
  5. In all of the considered configurations, due to leaving the machinery working widths at the same level, except for the spreader and the sprayer, an increase of the permanent tramlines span up to 24 m resulted only in reduction of their area by about 25%.
  6. Adoption of the modified traffic patterns over period of 3 years resulted in the uncompact area for both spacing of permanent tramlines and amounted to about 26% for conventional tillage and 42% for reduced tillage. In the same time period, the currently used traffic allows for 4.5% area free of wheeling.
  7. Adoption of the OutTrac system with the proposed machinery in winter wheat cultivation using reduced tillage would result in an area free of traffic of about 71% in one season.

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Accepted for print: 30.12.2017


Maria Walczykova
Department of Machinery Management, Ergonomics and Production Processes, Faculty of Production and Power Engineering, University of Agriculture in Krakow, Poland
Balicka 104, 30-149 Cracow, Poland
Phone: (012) 662 4634
email: rtwalczy@cyf-kr.edu.pl

Mirosław Zagórda
Department of Machinery Management, Ergonomics and Production Processes, Faculty of Production and Power Engineering, University of Agriculture in Krakow, Poland
Balicka 104, 30-149 Cracow, Poland
email: miroslaw.zagorda@poczta.fm

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