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Optimization of Specific Draft Requirement and Hitch Length for an Animal Drawn Sub-Soiler: A Case of Sandy Clay Loam Soils

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Document pages: 17 pages

Abstract: This study aimed at optimizing tillage depth and hitching length for optimal draft requirement in sandy clay loam soils for animal drawn subsoiler. Field experiments were conducted to collect draft datasets using the MSI 7300 digital dynamometer communicating remotely with MSI-8000 RF data logger connected to a laptop through the serial port. To determine the numeric values of soil parameters pertinent to subsoiling, field experiments, laboratory tests and numerical analysis techniques were employed. For a specified speed, a combination of three hitch lengths of 2.5 m, 3.0 m and 3.5 m and three depths from 0 cm to 30 cm with a range of 10 cm interval was used. Soil bulk density was found to vary between 1.52 to 1.37 g cm3 and 1.44 to 1.67 g cm3 for Machakos and Kitui experimental plots respectively. Soil moisture content increased with an increase in depth ranging from 3.53 to 9.94 for Machakos site and from 4.15 to 9.61 for Kitui site. Soil shear strength parameters ranged between 21.71 and 29.6 kPa between depths of 0 - 20 cm and decreased to 28.07 kPa for depths beyond 20 cm at Machakos experimental plot; while for Kitui experimental plot, it ranged between 30.02 and 39.29 kPa between depths of 0 - 30 cm. A second-order quadratic expression of the form y = ax2 + bx + c was obtained for the relationship between specific draft and depth at given hitching length as well as specific draft against hitching length at a given depth. The optimal hitching length and tillage depth for Machakos experimental plot were obtained as 2.9 m (~3 m) and 16.5 cm respectively. In Kitui experimental site, the optimal hitching length was obtained as 2.9 m (~3 m) and the optimal tillage depth was 15.4 cm.

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