Build a prototype planter suitable for planting peanuts into uncultivated cane trash blanket : SRDC Grower Group Innovation Project final report
The aim of this project was to build a prototype planter capable of seeding peanuts directly into uncultivated cane trash blanket. The group used their observations of difficulties we had in a previous project GGP028 to decide what needed to be incorporated into the design of the planter to make it effective. In GGP028 the group sought to use multi passes with readily available equipment to plant and grow peanuts in an uncultivated cane trash blanket. The strike and the inoculation of the peanuts in this trial were severely adversely affected by the enveloping of the peanut seeds in trash reducing the seed/ soil contact. GGP028 also included a replicated area that included a conventional treatment as well as zero till and tillage limited to a single ripping under the peanut row. The conventional was the best with the zero till being the worst. This led us to the decision that we needed to rip under the peanut row to break up compaction caused by the cane harvesting equipment. It was also very obvious that we needed to stop the trash from enveloping the peanut seeds. We proposed to do this using a large straight edge coulter as the front end of the planter. The ripper would follow the coulter very closely to avoid the ripper legs gathering trash and cane roots. These would be followed by spider trash rakes and then by a press wheel to slightly recompact the disturbed area to achieve an even seed bed. The vacuum air seeder assembly would finish the process. The group held a number of brain storming sessions with our manufacturer to decide on the final design and to discuss how modifications would be done after problems arose at the initial trials. An important part of the trial was to keep other growers and industry people updated on our progress. We arranged a field day on the day we seeded the first Two Hectare trial area on one of the group member’s farm. The attendance was very good and the machine performed well. The trial area on both the properties consisted of a 2 ha block, half of which was cultivated conventionally and half of which was planted in the uncultivated trash blanket. The crop on the second farm had a number of problems affecting the yields of both treatments. The weather led to lateness of harvesting the cane and lack of time to allow the trash to settle before planting and lack of time to apply pre plant fertilisers. The group therefore feels that the trial on the first farm should be the basis of this report. A graph showing the results of a DPI conducted assessment consisting of five sites in each treatment on the second farm shortly before harvest is indicative of the problems at this site is Table 4. Concentrating on the first trial site, the gross return from the 1 ha trash section was $4410 and the gross return from the 1 ha conventional section was $5901. While there is still an obvious advantage from the conventional system the result is much closer than the GGP028 trial highlighting the improvement achieved by the construction of the planter. What is yet unknown are the effects on the soil of the minimisation of soil disturbance in the trash section. This is something that may conceivably take many years to quantify. The other part of the trial was to assess three different ways of inoculating the peanuts. They were 1. Dusting the Seed, 2. Injecting the inoculant suspended in water, and 3. Applying a Granular Inoculant. Dusting proved the best with Liquid 10 % behind the dusted followed by the Granular 10 % behind the Liquid.