Tillage In Agriculture refers to the effect on soil of the working organs of machines and implements in order to improve the soil conditions of agricultural crops and to destroy weeds. These conditions are formed primarily as a result of changes in the agrophysical parameters of soil fertility, on which water-air and thermal regimes directly depend. The effect of mechanical tillage on the food regime is carried out through soil biota.
Mechanical tillage is the basis of modern crop cultivation technologies and the most important means of increasing the effective soil fertility and crop yields. About 40% of energy and 25% of labor costs of their total amount is spent on tillage in the cultivation and harvesting of crops.
With the help of mechanical tillage, the following tasks are solved:
- – creation of favorable water-air and thermal regimes by changing the structure of the arable layer of the soil and its structural state;
- – improvement of the nutritional regime as a result of the impact on the vital activity of the soil biota;
- – fight against contamination of soil and crops, with pests and pathogens of agricultural crops
- – incorporation into the soil of the former vegetation or its residues and fertilizers;
- – prevention and protection of soil from wind and water erosion;
- – the creation of the necessary conditions for the sowing of cultivated plants, their care and harvesting;
- – deprivation of the viability of perennial vegetation during the processing of virgin and fallow lands, as well as during the cutting of a layer of perennial grasses;
- – energy saving and profitability;
The main technological operations under the impact tillage in agriculture o on the soil are as follows:
wrapping, loosening, crumbling, compaction, mixing, leveling the soil, cutting weeds, creating ridges and furrows, stubble conservation on the soil surface.
Wrapping This is a mutual movement of parts of the arable layer or soil horizons in the vertical direction. The need for wrapping caused by the differentiation of parts of the arable layer of soil fertility. During the cultivation of agricultural plants, the upper layer is compacted as a result of the destruction of structural aggregates, dried up, clogged with weed seeds, and the lower one is depleted of nutrients due to a decrease in microbiological activity in the absence of fresh plant material. Wrapping is also necessary for embedding plant residues and fertilizers into the soil. Carry out this operation with the help of plow plows and cultivators.
Along with positive actions, wrapping has negative aspects. In conditions of insufficient moisture during this treatment, a lot of moisture is lost and the erosion resistance of the soil decreases.
Loosening changes the relative position of the soil separate with the formation of large pores with an increase in the volume of the soil. Thanks to this operation, the water-air and thermal regimes are improved, the biological activity of the soil is enhanced, and the accumulation of nutrients absorbed by plants is increased. To some extent, loosening is carried out with almost all tillage implements.
Crumbling. Under the crushing of the soil imply a reduction in the size of the soil structural units. When crumbling large lumps and lumps break up into small lumps. It is necessary to create a small-lumpy structure during tillage. The crumbling is carried out by many implements, but most effectively by rotary ones, especially with cutters.
Compaction. This is the opposite operation of loosening, which leads to a change in the relative position of the soil separate with the formation of small pores and a decrease in the volume of the soil.
Compaction is necessary to reduce diffuse evaporation of moisture, uniform seeding of seeds during sowing, especially of small seed culture and improving the contact of seeds with the soil after sowing. Compaction is carried out by various rollers.
Stirring The change in the relative position of the soil separate, providing a more uniform state of the treated layer. It is required when introducing organic and mineral fertilizers, lime and gypsum, as well as creating a more powerful arable layer by involving the subsurface layers in the circulation. Mixing occurs when processing plows without coulters, cutters, dumps and disc stubblers.
With deep embedding of seeds and vegetative reproductive organs of weeds, mixing is undesirable.
Alignment It ensures that the irregularities of the soil surface. It is especially necessary for uniform seed embedding and creating the same conditions in the soil in terms of its water and thermal properties. An unlined field loses more moisture, it is unevenly heated, which leads to unequal biological activity and different accumulations of nutrients along the microrelief elements. As a result of the multiple-depth embedding of seeds and the unequal fertility of the soil, shoots appear uneven at elevated and lowered microrelief areas and are thinned.
Leveling is a mandatory technological operation for surface irrigation. Presowing leveling of the soil creates the best conditions for uniform distribution of water during irrigation.
To level the surface of the soil, planners, loops, scraps, small, graders and other implements are used.
Cutting of weeds is carried out simultaneously with loosening, mixing and wrapping the soil. However, special tillage techniques are also used with the use of cultivators with single and double-sided razors, knife paws, as well as sucker and other cultivators.
Creation of microrelief (grooves, ridges, ridges, cracks, holes, microlievers, etc.). Mainly used in the zone of excessive moisture and on sloping lands. Furrows, ridges and ridges create for the removal of excess water and improve gas exchange, accelerate the heating of the soil and enhance the processes of transformation of nutrients.
On fields prone to water erosion, the creation of intermittent grooves, ridges, crevices, holes helps to reduce surface runoff, prevent soil flushing and increase its moisture reserves.
For the formation of the microrelief, hillers, plows with special tools, ridge-making machines, dressers, shleresezy and other tools are used.
Conservation of stubble on the surface of the soil. Stubble crop residues reduce wind speed in the surface layer of the soil and protect it from blowing, contribute to the retention of snow, reduce the depth of freezing and accumulate moisture in the soil. Tillage with stubble conservation on the surface creates favorable conditions for the absorption of summer precipitation and protects moisture from evaporation.
Tillage within a conservation agriculture
Unfortunately there is no mechanical implement capable of creating a stable soil structure. Mechanized tillage can only destroy it. Therefore, we need a new concept of tillage and, above all, deep knowledge about the form of intervention that we are exercising with each of the teams.
Naturally there are differences between different types of soil with respect to the susceptibility to loss of structure. But a stable and optimal structure both for plant growth and to ensure good water infiltration , minimizing soil losses due to erosion, is achieved only by biological processes such as the formation of humus in the soil.
When to till the earth
According to the concepts expressed above, the best way of mechanized tillage would be to do none. However, the concepts of zero tillage do not work in all cases. Agriculture means an intervention in natural processes and therefore we have to accept, that in some specific cases we have to intervene and correct. Even in zero tillage, tillage is done in the form of machinery traffic in the field to sow, control pests and harvest; Traffic means compaction and this is a form of tillage. Whenever a problem occurs that requires a tillage-type intervention, one must ask, what is the problem and how can it be controlled in the way that least affects the soil.