Tillage Study in Wheat

AGCO puts farmers first, and that means discovering ways to unlock yield potential while farming more efficiently and sustainably. AGCO’s Agronomy and Advanced Farm Solutions team is hard at work bringing the latest research from fields around the globe to the farmers who feed the world. Check back every Tuesday for a new agronomic research study as the team explores different crops, equipment, pathogens, and growing practices.

March 9, 2021 by AGCO

Tillage Study in Wheat

AGCO puts farmers first, and that means discovering ways to unlock yield potential while farming more efficiently and sustainably. AGCO’s Agronomy and Advanced Farm Solutions team is hard at work bringing the latest research from fields around the globe to the farmers who feed the world. Check back every Tuesday for a new agronomic research study as the team explores different crops, equipment, pathogens, and growing practices.

AGCO puts farmers first, and that means discovering ways to unlock yield potential while farming more efficiently and sustainably. AGCO’s Agronomy and Advanced Farm Solutions team is hard at work bringing the latest research from fields around the globe to the farmers who feed the world. Check back every Tuesday for a new agronomic research study as the team explores different crops, equipment, pathogens, and growing practices.

The objective of this study was to show the effect of tillage treatment on wheat yield. During the 2018/2019 cropping season, a Massey Ferguson 320 seed drill was used to plant wheat in a ripped plot and in a no-till plot at the Martin Richenhagen Future Farm in Zambia, Africa, and the yield was compared at maturity.

Results:

Overall grain yield was lower than average due to very low precipitation in this region during the 2018/2019 cropping season. Planting wheat with no-till resulted in a 20% increase in grain yield (4.1 t/ha) over the ripped plot (3.4 t/ha).

This yield increase was attributed to two factors, which led to greater moisture conservation:

1) Enhanced soil cover from last season’s maize straw.

 

 

 

 

 

2) Less soil disturbance.

Figure 1: Wheat yield in tons/ha dry matter at harvest. Wheat was planted with a wheat drill in a ripped field and in an untilled field.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 2: MF 320 seed drill used for the experiment.

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 3: Wheat seeded directly – no till (left) vs. seeded on a ripped field (right). There is less soil disturbance and more soil cover in the no till field.

Additional Observations:

Most soils in Zambia are very low in organic matter and sandy, which results in poor water-holding capacity. Less soil disturbance and more soil cover are great moisture management practices that can improve yield, especially when precipitation is insufficient.

Recommendations & Equipment Solutions:

Moisture management is very critical for crop production in Sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, the selection of a tillage system must be done with care to reduce soil disturbance as much as possible. Irrespective of tillage, the MF 320 seed drill performs well for seeding.

Payback:

The tillage trial showed a 0.7t/ha difference between ripped and no-till plots. This equates to $245/ha revenue and saving the cost of ripping – $50/ha, totaling $295/ha. Assumptions: Price of wheat is $350/t.

Study contact:

Sheila Zulu, Agronomist, and Trainer, AGCO Corporation. Connect with Sheila on  LinkedIn

If you enjoyed learning about this topic, check out more research studies by our Agronomy team by clicking here.  

 

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