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SWEEP Report #31

Field Scale Tests of the Modified Moldboard Plow

Researchers: 
J. Sadler Richards, Conservation Management Systems, Lucan, Ontario

Executive Summary

Evaluation Summary (Tech. Transfer Report Summaries)

View / Download Final Report [297 KB pdf]

Associated SWEEP/LSP Research

 

 

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Completed: October, 1991

Key Words:

modified moldboard plow, minimum tillage, equipment modification, residue management

Executive Summary

The erosion of agricultural land and the associated pollution of Lake Erie with sediment and phosphorus have been identified as major agronomic and environmental problems in Ontario. Of the several methods available to control soil erosion and phosphorus movement conservation tillage systems are rated among the best. A need exists for a conservation tillage system that will maintain crop yield and provide adequate residue cover.

Fall weather conditions in Ontario can prolong harvest and fall primary tillage is often done in excessively wet soil. Under these conditions the moldboard plough has been and will likely continue to be the implement of choice for many farmers. The main problem in using the moldboard plough is that the implement tends to bury almost all residue from the previous crop. As a result the potential for controlling soil erosion is considered poor. Little work has been done to improve this performance.

This research project is a continuation on a field scale of initial work carried out by Conservation Management Systems (CMS) in 1988 which looked at modifications to the shapes of three moldboard types (general purpose, high speed and European) mounted on three makes of ploughs (White, John Deere and Overum) commonly used in Ontario. This project studied the residue management potential capabilities of different configurations of the modified moldboard as first used by Vyn, Daynard and Ketcheson.

The field scale modified moldboard trial (1989-90) was carried out at four different sites within the Lake Erie Basin. Each site was located in a grain corn stubble field with one site in each of Perth and Middlesex Counties and the two remaining sites situated in Kent County.

The trials were set up as a "modified" randomized complete block design consisting of three or four replications depending on the amount of room available within the cooperator 's field. The treatments consisted of three modifications (cuts) to the moldboard shape and one control (full moldboard). At one site a Norcan Minibottom was also included as a treatment.

 

Evaluation Summary

(From Technology Transfer Report Summaries - A. Hayes, L. Cruickshank, Co-Chairs)

This research project is a continuation of work done in 1988 which looked at modifications to the shapes of three moldboard types (general purpose, high speed, and European) commonly used in Ontario. This study evaluated the residue management potential capabilities of different configurations of the modified moldboard. The field scale trial was carried out at four different sites within Perth, Middlesex, and Kent counties.

The objectives of the study were to:

  1. Demonstrate the effect of moldboard modifications on the amount of grain corn residue cover left on the soil surface.

  2. Demonstrate these effects relative to: different models of moldboard plows, different bottom widths, different plow depths and different soil and field conditions.

  3. Monitor the effects of moldboard modification treatments on soil residue cover, crop growth and yield.

  4. Prepare preliminary guidelines on the settings and adjustments of certain moldboard plows with the goal of optimizing residue management potential.

Observations and measurements were taken on:

  1. Moldboard plow mechanical performance

  2. Soil moisture content and bulk density

  3. Soil surface residue cover

  4. Soybean plant stand

  5. Soybean plant height

  6. Soybean final plant population

  7. Plant lodging

  8. Yield and moisture content

The conclusions from the report are that there are no significant differences for any of the parameters measured. At all of the sites, the modifications to the moldboard plow did not significantly change the amount of residue left on the soil surface.

Comments:

The study shows that modifications to the moldboard plow do not enhance residue cover and certainly don't achieve the 20-30% residue cover (after planting) needed for erosion control.

Associated SWEEP/LSP Research:

  • SWEEP Report #6 - A Survey of Crop Residue in Southwestern Ontario 1987

  • SWEEP Report #13 - The Effect of Moldboard Shape on the Residue Management Potential of the Moldboard Plow

  • SWEEP Report #SUP-2 - Conservation Tillage Handbook - Equipment Modifications and Practical Tips

Future Research: ( ) indicates reviewers suggestion for priority, A - high, C - low.

None required.

 

 

 

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Created: 05-28-1996
Last Revised: Thursday, May 19, 2011 02:48:27 PM