Technique of Green Mulch Spreading E12
Agricultural Research Centre (MTT), Institute of Agricultural Engineering (VAKOLA), FIN-03400 Vihti
|Spreading green mulch between row crops reveals
many advantages: weed and pest control, regulation of soil moisture and nitrogen
nutrition. The problem however is that there is no appropriate technique available yet to
reduce work load.
The results of the evaluation of the following spreading techniques were obtained by model calculations and field experiments.
1. Cultivation of mulch and row crop on different plots, distribution by a modified manure spreader: There are no restrictions or dependencies concerning crop rotation of both mulch and row crop or quantity and availability of mulch. Field efficiency drops with increasing distance between mulch and row crop plot. Nutrient losses may occur during transport because of self-heating. Traffic on the row crop plot causes soil structure damages.
2. Strip intercropping cultivation of mulch and row crop. A modified flail combined with mowers between the rows spreads the mulch: This technique places the mulch mainly within the row and allows weeds between the rows to be used as mulch too. For field experiments Trifolium pratense, Secale cereale and Phalaris arundinaceae were used as mulch and Brassica oleracea var. capitata as row crop. Although working speed during spreading is very low, field efficiency is 45% better and variable cost 40% lower compared with case 1 because of the absence of transport. The crop rotation management and the finding of the right area ratio between mulch and row crop are difficult as well as the timing of mulch spreading.
3. a combination of both methods mentioned above: This technique eliminates the disadvantages of case 1 and 2. But field efficiency drops 15% and variable cost rises 10% compared with case 1.
4. strip rotary tillage and planting of the row crop within the mulch crop plot. Modified drum mowers spread the mulch: This technique is not tested yet. Calculation results in sevenfold better field efficiency and 77% lower variable cost compared with case 1.
Hellbe, M. (1989): Spridning av grönmassa med kombivagn. In: Alternativodlaren, 3, 27-29.
Schäfer, W., Jaakkola, S. & Granstedt, A. (1995): Development of a
Svensson, S. A. (1995): Teknik för marktäckning med grönmassa i