Automated intelligent rotor tine cultivation and punch planting to improve the selectivity of mechanical intra-row weed control
J. Rasmussen1*, H. W. Griepentrog2, J. Nielsen1 and C. B. Henriksen1
There is much research on technical aspects related to sensor and mapping techniques, which enable so-called intelligent cultivators to target the intra-row spaces within crop rows.
This study investigates (i) an expected advantage of an intelligent rotor tine cultivator (the cycloid hoe) in terms of crop-weed selectivity and (ii) an expected synergistic effect between punch planting and post-emergence weed harrowing, in terms of improved crop-weed selectivity. Selectivity is defined as the relationship between weed density decline and associated crop density decline 1 week after cultivation. Punch planting is a sowing technique where holes are created in the ground with a minimum of soil disturbance, and seeds are inserted into them, without soil disturbance outside the holes. Two experiments were carried out with the cycloid hoe in organic sugar beet. The rotation tines were guided by RTK-GPS relative to geo-referenced sugar beets. Tines were moved into the row when there was enough space between crop plants to cultivate and kept outside when they were predicted to strike a crop plant. The selectivity of the cycloid hoe was tested against two machine variants without intelligent guidance: the rotor tine cultivator in a locked mode, where tines rotate within the crop row without taking crop plants into consideration, and an ordinary flex tine weed harrow.
The experiments showed no differences between the three machine variants in terms of selectivity. Five experiments with punch planting in sugar beet and carrot crops showed no synergistic effects between plant establishment procedures and selectivity of post-emergence weed harrowing. Even if punch planting and automated intelligent rotor tine cultivation were not combined, the results indicated that there was no reason to believe that a combination contributes significantly in mechanical intra-row weed control in direct sown crops to the solution of the main problem of low selectivity, which still remains a major challenge. Future studies on precision intra-row cultivation should focus on cutting implements, instead of tine implements that mainly work through soil burial.
Weed Research (2012) 52: 327-337
Author Locations and Affiliations
(1) Department of Agriculture and Ecology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
(2) Institute of Agricultural Engineering, University of Hohenheim, Germany
* Corresponding author, E-mail email@example.com
Posted June 2012