From Planting up to Harvest: The Importance of Soil Tillage

Marco GobessoMarco Gobesso

“… if soil tillage is not done according to each type of soil, unnecessary operations and costs might occur …”

Marco Gobesso is an agronomist engineer, graduated at the Regional University Center of Espirito Santo do Pinhal and head of marketing at Piccin Tecnologia Agrícola, a Brazilian manufacturer of agricultural machinery and developer of technology for soil tillage. Gobesso is an expert in management and marketing with more than 30 years of experience in agricultural mechanization.

What is the importance of soil tillage in agricultural production and how does it affect production costs and yield?

Soil tillage operations are very important. When performed incorrectly, they affect all subsequent stages of cultivation (from sowing up to harvest), plant development, and the costs of mechanical operations, causing long term impacts.

Cultivation: the efficiency of agricultural equipment used in sowing, cultivation, and harvest is related to the quality of soil tillage. From the correct placement of seeds to the performance of harvest platforms, all operations can be affected if the granulometry conditions and leveling are not ideal to the type of soil and the crop.

Plant development: ideal conditions for germination and plant development have direct relation to soil conditions. Existence of compacted layers, for example, affects root growth and yields.

Costs: if tillage is not performed according to the type of soil, it may incur in unnecessary operations and costs, like extra diesel consumption and equipment damage.

Soil conservation: just like in costs, operations are performed according to specific type of soil and conditions. Excessive machinery traffic due to unnecessary operations can compact the soil and aggravate losses in areas where conservation is not practiced.

It is important to consider soil preparation techniques with minimal cultivation as alternatives when possible. No-till practices bring great benefits and avoid the impacts described if performed properly.

Agricultural Machinery

Example of machinery used for soil compaction

What are the main challenges for an agricultural machinery and implements manufacturer? Could you comment about competition?

Supplying our clients’ needs with innovative solutions is our challenge. Aligning the development and availability of those solutions in the necessary regions demands broad knowledge and proximity to farmers, not to mention the short time we have from understanding needs and providing solutions.

Other factors that make the scenery so complex are the need to plan production capacity, because it depends on local and international suppliers and the oscillations that influence the market (costs and availability).

How did the progress of technology change the agricultural machinery and implements for soil tillage market?

Two main technological progress: the first is connected to minimal cultivation techniques, as no-till, for example. The need of adapting existing equipment and the development of new solutions was a great change for manufacturers. The second is the arrival of precision agriculture, with the possibility of acting precisely where and how it should be done.