Cereal production with broadcast seed and reduced tillage: a review of recent experimental and farming experience

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Recent research on broadcasting and other methods of seed distribution is briefly reviewed. Broadcasting, in combination with reduced cultivation offers the advantage of being up to four times faster than conventional ploughing and drilling and is of particular value for sowing large areas of winter cereals. Such a reduced cultivation system, in which cereal seed was broadcast on short or burnt stubble and incorporated by shallow cultivation, was compared with direct drilling and conventional drilling either after shallow cultivation or ploughing in four experiments using either spring or winter barley. Yields and quality of winter barley after broadcasting were about the same as those after ploughing and driling, but yields and quality of spring barley after broadcasting, from the few results available, were inferior to those after ploughing and drilling. Good control of weeds and compaction by wheels is required for successful application of broadcasting with reduced cultivation. From experience with field experiments, this control is easier and more effective with winter barley than with spring barley. The cost savings of fuel, labour and machinery possible with broadcasting may occasionally be offset by extra herbicide costs. Several alternative systems developed by farmers or by SIAE, which involve combinations of different cultivations applied before or after broadcasting, are also described. Farmer systems of broadcasting usually include cultivation before broadcasting in order to alleviate compaction, bury trash and to leave the soil surface in a suitable condition for rapid seed covering. © 1986.

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