What is a tillage system?

What is a tillage system?

12 / 04 / 2021
A soil cultivation system is a set of specific measures for cultivating soil for crops of crop rotation. Tasks are carried out in accordance with the main goals in a certain sequence.

Types and features of soil cultivation systems

A soil cultivation system is a set of specific measures for cultivating soil for crops of crop rotation. Tasks are carried out in accordance with the main goals in a certain sequence. The subtleties of the process vary depending on the crops cultivated, the place in the crop rotation, as well as soil and climatic characteristics.
Taking into account the time of the event, there are three main types:
• main - represents the deepest cultivation in the technology of growing certain crops, as a result of which the structure of the soil changes;
• pre-sowing - a method of processing before sowing or planting crops;
• post-sowing - a set of actions for soil cultivation immediately after sowing.
Any technology is necessary to create appropriate conditions for the germination of grains and the development of the plant's root system during the growing season. This allows for the formation of a large and, most importantly, high-quality harvest.

Types of tillage systems

Four main systems can be distinguished. The first (traditional) one provides for the execution of plowing with a seam turnover. In this case, a clean arable land is formed, and the remains of the plant are wrapped up to a depth of 30 cm.
The main advantages of traditional processing:
• the ability to create optimal conditions for friendly germination of grains;
• minimum pressure on the soil;
• creation of high-quality drainage and distribution of mineral elements in the arable layer;
• providing chemical protection of crops.
But traditional processing also has certain disadvantages. For example, this technology creates a so-called plow sole, which is quite dense. This is an additional obstacle to the penetration of water into the lower layers of the soil. The plow sole also significantly complicates the development of the root system in depth. Such processing technology is not required in areas where the soil is prone to drying out or wind / water erosion. The soil requires periodic deep loosening - at least once every 3-4 years.
The next type of tillage system is minimal. It implies surface cultivation of the soil using disc aggregates, and also there is an even mixing of plant residues with a layer of 15-28 cm.

The main advantages of this system:
• creation of the upper soil layer of high structure;
• accumulation of organic elements and humus;
• maximum permeability of water and air;
• ensuring high-quality mineralization of organic residues;
• the possibility of using various types of fertilizers (both mineral and organic), as well as mechanical treatments during the growing season;
• minimal financial and energy costs.
But it must be borne in mind that heavy equipment passing on the ground contributes to the compaction of the soil. One of the drawbacks of this system is the limited use of traditional drills with low opener pressure. Minimal tillage requires daily leveling of the soil, as well as reconsolidation after sowing.
Another system - belt - involves vertical cultivation in strips at a depth of about 15-17 cm. Sowing of cereals is carried out in spring or autumn.
Advantages of the belt processing system:
• the possibility of effective destruction of compacted soil layers;
• creation of equal conditions for the growth of all crops in the row;
• sowing seeds in waterlogged soil, as well as in areas with many plant residues;
• maintaining the required moisture level in the aisles;
• the ability to add mineral tape fertilizers, including anhydrous ammonia;
This technology shows itself well in marginal areas with a limited arable layer.
This kind of processing system also has some disadvantages. For example, there are tight deadlines for fertilizing in the fall. The use of old traditional seeders is not always effective and generally acceptable. The belt technology removes crop residues from the processing areas. A limited amount of gypsum and lime can be applied in one pass. The implementation of this processing system requires a large investment in the purchase of specialized equipment. Before completing the task, it is imperative to level the ground along the microrelief and normalize the acidity level. When tape processing, it is necessary to monitor the compaction of the soil along the paths of mobile equipment, in particular in damp areas.
The zero system implies sowing cereals in untreated soil. For this, special seeders are used. One of the features is the absence of any other mechanical effects on the soil.
• the number of machine passes through the site is minimal, so the energy and financial costs of processing are low;
• preservation of the winter moisture reserve under the layer of plant residues, which practically does not evaporate even during severe drought;
• protection of soil from any type of erosion;
• prevention of excessive overheating of the upper layer in hot summer heat.
It should be borne in mind that this processing technology allows the use of fertilizers, but the use of high volumes is limited. This will require a special technique. The amount of potassium and phosphorus, as well as the acidity rate, must be leveled out prior to processing. To complete the task, special seeding machines with maximum coulter pressure on the ground are required, respectively, additional costs will be required. Deep loosening technology is carried out after 5–6 years, since during this period there is a significant compaction. In arid regions, plant debris on the surface of the soil can cause a fire - you need to be careful with this.
Main disadvantages:
• high risk of developing fungal diseases and pests, which often hibernate in plant debris;
• limited control of harmful vegetation;
• Difficulties in performing early sowing due to the slow drying of the top layer of the earth in spring.
When choosing the optimal processing system, you need to focus on the peculiarities of the nature and climate in your region. You should also take into account the variety of soil and the financial capabilities of the farmer, since new technologies require investments. When choosing a belt or zero system, be aware of the limitations of using soil herbicides for weed control. In such cases, you need to use solid substances before and after sowing, until the main crop has emerged. Serious chemical and biological control of parasites and diseases ensures high yields - primarily due to the conservation of moisture in the upper layers of the soil, in particular in dry regions.

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