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Roller Crimper, A Key Tool for cover crops management

Atualizado: 31 de ago. de 2021

The Roller Crimper / Knife Roller is increasingly used in the management of cover crops. It is the function of the rural producer to be always in search of the best tools and implements to carry out field operations effectively and efficiently. Even more when it comes to techniques like the no-till system, which seek to carry out as few operations as possible and disturb the soil structure only when it is really necessary.

Production systems such as no-till are formed by several interconnected layers (planting, fertilizing, liming, harvesting, crop rotations and successions, irrigation, spraying, straw management...), where it is difficult to make a change that does not affect others points of the system, therefore efficient and well-executed management practices are fundamental. Cover crops play a fundamental role in the construction of these systems, and have a major impact on productivity.

The efficient management of cover crops from an agronomic point of view impacts the levels of weed infestation, ability of the soil to retain moisture, support greater microbiological diversity, reduced fuel consumption and working time. That's why it's so important to have the right tool for this job, and the roller crimper, or knife roller, has proven to be the implement to no-till, conservation agriculture and organic farming systems, as it is able to knock down 100% of the green cover in a single passed effectively.

The specific function of the roller crimper is to roll or chop vegetation, crop residues, stubble or cover crops, facilitating the next planting and forming a green mulch on the soil that can remain throughout the crop cycle, interfering as little as possible on the ground. This green mulch has the power to suppress weed germination, reduce the number of herbicide applications, protect the soil against the erosive action of the impact of raindrops, in addition to serving as a sunscreen for the soil, maintaining temperature stability and decreasing moisture loss through evaporation.

Certain types of equipment don't have to be very different to be revolutionary, small adjustments can make the implement work much better, saving time, energy and reducing production costs. When thinking about how to improve the traditional implement, Indutar worked together with a farmer to develop an evolved knife roller, the Roller Crimper Katrina Indutar.

The Katrina Indutar Roller Crimper was designed to be an easy-to-operate, self-transportable equipment, with a set of wheels and a unique hydraulic system for converting into transport and work mode in the horizontal direction, without overloading the metallic structure and the hydraulic system. It has the idea of ​​being a strong and easy to maintain equipment, a smart design with few break points and bearings, and the ability of effectively float over the ground spreading the green mulch evenly. It has a set of parallel and interspersed knives to work more smoothly, always maintaining contact with the ground, making an effective cut or kneading of the vegetation. The ability to ballast the rollers with water increases their weight to help better perform the job, since weight plays a fundamental role in the pressure of the knives on the ground.

Blunt or sharp knives?

To control weeds it is important to keep as little bare soil as possible, so in these situations it is interesting to work with the set of knives on the blunt side, as this way the vegetation and its vascular system are crushed and not cut, avoiding expose the soil and weed seeds on the surface. The option for sharp knives is when the objective is to chop the straw on the ground, such as corn, for example, improving the plantability of the crop and accelerating the decomposition of crop residues.

Roller crimper in wet areas?

The Roller Crimper can be used in dry and wet soils, the no-till system with cover crops has the advantage of being able to be used in both wet and dry areas, without generating soil compaction problems, since the cover distributes the weight of the tractor on a larger surface.

Pre-planting management of crop residues

The Roller Crimper is widely used to improve the planting conditions of crops, rolling and chopping the remains of predecessor crops. This practice aims to leave the area uniform for planting, avoiding planter blocking due to straw accumulation problems, reducing downtime and wasted time. For a good service, the use of ballast on the rolls is important, as is the set of sharp parallel knives. This practice is also beneficial for nutrient cycling and improves the incidence of sunlight on newly germinated seedlings.

Weed control

Effective weed control must be carried out based on a set of practices, ranging from crop rotation, different herbicide active principles and a set of cultural and mechanical methods, even helping to reduce and control plants herbicide resistant weeds. The Roller Crimper action has the ability to cut down on at least one herbicide application. The objective is the formation of a voluminous green mulch capable of suppressing the germination of weed seeds, for this it is recommended to cultivate and perform the lodging of cover crops during the milky grain stage, at the end of the plant's life cycle, with the knives on the blunt side when it has maximum reserve accumulation, root and shoot growth, effectively crushing and killing the cover crops and creating a voluminous green cover.

How best to use the Roller Crimper?

When properly used, the Roller Crimper can help to reduce production costs, this is done by improving the planting conditions of crops, reducing the cost of controlling weeds, and eliminating "hidden" costs, such as straw accumulation in planting operations, moisture losses and fertilizers. As in any activity, it is important to know how to use the work tools optimally, and the same happens with the Roller Crimper. Know when to use the blind or sharp side of the knives, the best way to press the knives into the ground, which are the best cover crop (not all cover crops species die from the knife roller action), the operating angle ( it can be from 30 to 90° from the planting lines), as well as performing the roll at the right stage (such as the flowering stage and milky grain of the cover crops). These precautions have the ability to greatly improve the efficiency and results of the operation. The Roller Crimper contributes to the construction of a fertile soil with high productivity, preserving nutrients, water and organic matter, being able to meet the demands of crops with high productive potential. Rolling the straw and cover crops encourages cycling and the transfer of nutrients from one crop to another, building sustainable agriculture. Finally, the operator's practice and whim are essential to achieve success and the best results, always seek to improve and learn more.

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