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Less tillage means reduced costs.

The USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has entered a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Deere & Company in Conyers, Ga., to evaluate and develop equipment for site-specific tillage.

The technology could save farmers 25 to 75 percent of tillage energy costs because they often till compacted soil deeper than necessary. Currently, farmers set tillage depth by hand. They maintain this depth at the same level throughout a field based on the maximum needed for the most compacted areas. Deeper than necessary tilling can bury excessive plant residue, which increases erosion and carbon emissions. The outcome can lead to reduced crop yields.

ARS and Deere will experiment to determine the economic benefits of pinpointing compacted areas of coastal plain-type soils prevalent in the southeastern United States They will target tillage depths using global positioning systems (GPS) to maintain locations within fields.

The research could help farmers develop economical, environmentally friendly ways to reduce excess soil compaction.
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Publication:Resource: Engineering & Technology for a Sustainable World
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2001
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