AGRICARE compares four different cultivation techniques:
1) conventional system;
2) minimum tillage;
3) strip tillage;
4) no-till or direct seeding.
The testing regards 16 parcels (1.5 hectare each) of department 12 – for the location see the following link – subject to wheat/canola/maize/ soybean rotation.
Harvest, in all scenarios, is done by combines equipped with yield map systems.
1 – CONVENTIONAL SYSTEM (TEST)
The parcels are cultivated according to conventional cultivation, plowing included, and precision techniques are not applied. Seeding density and the use of fertilizers are not adapted to the variability of the soil. The machines used are: plow, power harrows, seed drill, sprayer.
2 – MINIMUM TILLAGE
In this technique, tillage is performed without inverting soil layers, at a depth less than 20 cm. The machines used are: cultivator, combined seed drill, sprayer. All the machines used use an automatic drive system and variable seed and fertilizer distribution based on georeferenced prescription maps.
3 – STRIP TILLAGE
The characteristics of this technique are the cultivation without inverting soil layers, limited to the seeding strip wide approximately 22 cm (strip). The machines used are: strip tiller cultivator, planter, sprayer. All the machines used use an automatic drive system and variable seed and fertilizer distribution based on georeferenced prescription maps.
4 – NO TILLAGE
In this technique the fundamental operation is the no tillage. The machines used are: direct seeder, sprayer. The direct seeder is equipped with variable seed/fertilizer distribution devices and uses automatic drive systems, based on georeferenced prescription maps.
Precision farming allows to:
– Optimize agricultural machinery performance sensibly reducing overlapping, fuel consumption and time.
– Input varying (seed and fertilizer dosing) based on soil variability according to georeferenced maps. This way it is possible to maximize yields, based on different land potentials, greatly reducing production factors (seeds, phytopharmaceuticals, fertilizers).
The variability is studied with specifi c techniques and soil analysis, as well as the creation of production maps which allow, year by year, to evaluate fertility evolution combined with the used farming techniques.