Semi-annual report: Animal drawn no-till in the “Agroforestry and Sustainable Vegetable Production” Project
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Executive Summary: In the first half of year 4, performance tests on the major parts of the animal drawn no-till implement were done. Six coulters were fabricated and tested and three opener geometries were also tested. Among the coulters, the 12 teeth curved and straight tooth coulters were found to require less horizontal draft force. Both coulters were also able to cut the living and dead residue sufficiently. The opener with the larger rake angle required the least horizontal draft force. Wings were added and tested but was found to have a small effect on the soil breakage and down force contribution compared to openers without wings. Soil breakage was also improved when a soil breaking tip and spikes mounted on the side of the opener shoe were used. Mounting plastic on the sides of the opener was also found to reduce the horizontal draft force by 5 kilograms. The rear wheels were set apart to improve stability and a soil compactor were added between them.
The seeder mechanism’s metering performance depended on the variation in sizes of the seed. The seeder delivered one to three seeds per position. Also, the seeding depth averaged at 34 mm with a standard deviation of 14 mm, which was too large. The fertilizer dispenser was not yet tested. It was supposed to deposit fertilizer under the soil in between adjacent seeds. A design of engine-powered no-till equipment was explored. It was found that motorcycle scooter parts such as the gear box and centrifugal clutch could used to build the equipment.
On planting preparation, it was found that a thin spray of Round-up can kill a sufficiently wide strip of araquis pintio and local weeds.
Regarding operation, testing had shown that the animal-drawn no-till equipment can be operated by one or two persons. For operation with one person, a handle similar to the conventional plow was suggested. The equipment was run at an average of 1.0 m/s.