Stubble Management, Controlled Field Hygiene
John Christensen, GreenTec A/S
Stubble Management – The 10th Anniversary
It is now more than 10 years since Spearhead in association with GreenTec developed the first rotary mulcher designed to chop Stubble residue after harvest. Following the creation of this machine the Stubble Management principles were established in an attempt to promote – a better field-hygiene.
What is Stubble Management?
Stubble Management is the process
of increased and faster
decomposition of stubble residues
that remain on the field following
harvest. With the correct approach
Stubble Management will support
the development of optimum soil
conditions for the following season’s
Stubble Management is carried out
using the Stubble Master 500 or
730 with respective 5.0 and 7.3 metre working widths. The patented knife system, Star Cut; performs a precise pulverization of the stubbles whilst benefiting from a very low power requirement. The suction power of the specialist blade system will mix the chopped and mulched stubble residues with dust which helps start the decomposition process immediately. Faster decomposition reduces the transfer of fungus and disease whilst at the same time as controlling the release of nutrients back in to the soil. Furthermore pesticide consumption is also reduced as better nitrogen utilization is maintained.
Benefits of good field-hygiene:
The decomposition of crop stubble residues is turbo-charged when chopped stubble is mixed with dust and soils; encouraging microorganisms. Faster decomposition results in a controlled release of nutrients from the decaying organic material which in turn reduces the transfer of fungus and disease.
Activation of waste seeds:
Stubble Management is especially effective in rapeseed for the activation of waste seeds. The chopped stubble forms a productive carpet that retains the exact moisture that the spilled rapeseeds need to become active thereby benefitting the development of crops in the following season.
Distribution of stubble residues:
As combines get bigger it is often difficult to distribute the processed straw across the width of the header. Using the Stubble Master which runs in a diagonal operation on the field allows the chopped straw to be chopped and mulched for a second time. Importantly the Stubble Master is constructed so the knives deliver the chopped matter to areas where material is not already lying, encouraging a perfect distribution across the width of the machine.
Pests and diseases:
Stubble Management is proven to be successful in the management of pests including the ‘Death Watch Beetle’ one of the world’s most common crop destroying insects. The ‘Death Watch Beetle’ is already present in Denmark. Effective pest control is supported by the use of the Stubble Master as it chops across and flares the lower stalk of the maize plant destroying the habitat that the beetle lives within.
Clean-up of the field:
There is often straw and stubble
residues left lying on the field
after harvest which can be
problematic for following field work.
Crossing with the Stubble Master
takes care of this problem in no
time as the residues are chopped,
mulched and spread.
Management of grass seed:
Traditionally the Spearhead rotary
mower has been used to manage
grass seed fields, the Stubble
Master is no exception – it´s just
got even better. Three years ago
the newest generation of Star Cut
blade system was introduced and
it is now possible to cut extremely
close to the ground to manage
grassland with a better mulch than
Long stubble after the combine:
By raising the header of the combine by 10 centimetres the capacity of the machine is increased by 20%. In years where there is a lot of rain it can be a big advantage to utilize the combine at a higher cutting level. Naturally it is still necessary to destroy the long stubbles and by utilizing the Stubble Master there are a number of additional following advantages.
Working hours and diesel use:
The patented knife system, Star Cut, is highly regarded for the pulverisation and distribution of the chopped material. With a forward speed of approximately 15 km per hour there is a huge capacity and a major time saving during the harvest process. The harvest time window is continually limited and therefore it is often the capacity of machinery that dictates if the work will be finished in time. Diesel use is approximately 2.5 litres per hectare for a normal stubble management process.