One of the biggest problems and where most of the questions are focused is…..When and where to start a continuous Direct Planting system? Direct Planting begins at the harvest, setting up the combine for the system in order to spread the crop residues as wide as the combine working width. Radial tires must generate the smallest tire tracks and compaction as possible in the soil, as well as the self-unloading hoppers and tractors that are working at process.
All the little details that we ignore during the harvesting time seem insignificant when we are working because we want our grain stored as soon as possible. But if we don’t work according to the basic concepts we won’t succeed in our continuous Direct Planting system.
Tires with over more than 30 pound per square inch should not working in our fields. The tire is supposed to absorb the weight of the hopper instead of transferrring it to the ground.
For example during harvest time the soil is not in proper condition to be driven by the combine or the tractor with the grain hopper, but at that moment we decide to keep on working to get our grain. Probably we will succeed in our job and harvest al the grains, but the problem will come next season. As soon as we want to start working to plant the next crop we will notice that our field is not in proper condition to be driven by the planter without any leveling tillage first, so our continuous Direct Planting system with all the benefits will be broken.
Another situation that we can find is the uneven spread of the crop residues, which in the next planting season won’t allow us to have good planting quality with our planter because we are not able to set up the planter for two very different situations giving us a very poor and uneven implantation of the crop.
During wheat harvest is crucial that we leave the stubble as high as possible. With this we will benefit by more efficient work of the combine, improving the wheaten chaff/grain relation, which improves work capacity and reduces the loss of grain. From that we also reduce the amount of residue that the tail has to spread. The high cut of the stubble is a big benefit for Russian and Kazak step where the winters are full of snow and the summer really dry. The stubble allows us to keep the snow in our fields, and not be flown away. Due to that technique in the next spring we will have more water available for our crops. This was already proof with great success on those regions.
A very usual question is…May I start Direct Planting in this type of soil?…or on that soil condition? The main thing that we have to know is that once we start with Direct Planting we are not moving the soil again, so the field should be as even as possible. We won’t be able to start in a field where the furrows from last year’s crop are disturbing or where 30 centimeters soil rubbles are lying over the soil, we must perform a leveling tillage first.
Why shouldn’t we till soil after beginning with the Argentine Direct Planting system? The no-till process allows reserving general porosity and special bio-porosity of the ground system. Bio-pores generated by worms and roots are straighter than the ones made by conventional tillage, that’s why the growing of the roots, the movement of ground water and air are more are more efficient. All these benefit’s the water balance in the ground by reducing evaporation and run off, and on the other hand increasing infiltration giving us more available water and productivity as a result.
Can we start Direct Planting on a 15 year old field without any agriculture? If the field is level enough and the only arrier are the weeds, you just need to make a chemical control of them an start working.
We should also have to check the presence of underground hardpan in order to let the roots develop in a proper way. On those circumstances we should perform a subsoiling tillage trying not to disturb the residue coverage.