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Parametric Analysis of the Mulching Depth of Oil Palm Fronds Achieved by Tractor Operated Mulcher

Parametric Analysis of the Mulching Depth of Oil Palm Fronds Achieved by Tractor Operated Mulcher

Bala Gambo Jahun1,2*, Muhammad Yamin2,3, Desa Bin Ahmad2, Muhammad Razif Mahdi2, Shamsuddin Suleiman4 and Salihu Ahmad Abdulkadir5 

1Department of Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, PMB 0248, Bauchi State Nigeria; 2Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Universiti Putra Malaysia 43400 Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia; 3Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad 38000, Pakistan; 4Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Universiti Putra Malaysia 43400, Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia; 5Department of Agricultural Engineering, Adamawa State Polytechnic Yola Nigeria.

bgjahun@yahoo.com  

ABSTRACT

Pruning produces large quantities of waste from oil palm fronds (OPFs). During mulching of oil palm fronds, lifting angles of mulcher’s blades affect the mulching depth and may damage the shallow roots of oil palms. This study investigates the influence of blade lifting angles, tractor’s forward speed and tractor’s PTO speed in predicting mulching depth. Four blades with lifting angles of 0°, 60°, 120°, and 150°; 02 tractor’s PTO speeds of 540 and 1000 RPM and 03 tractor’s forward speeds of 1, 3, and 5 km/h were assessed for determining the effect on mulching depth in oil palm plantation. The results show that about 79 % of the mulching depth variance is explained by blade lifting angles, tractor’s forward speed and tractor’s PTO speed. Blade lifting angle of 120° at tractor’s PTO speed of 1000 RPM and tractor’s forward speed of 5 km/h offered the most suitable mulching depth of 14.10 cm. Tractor’s PTO speed was a major predictor of mulching depth in an oil palm plantation. Thus prescribed blade lifting angle and tractor’s forward speed must be adjusted for the attainment of shallow mulching depth. This will minimize the damage to the roots of oil palm while mulching oil palm fronds. Moreover, the developed multiple linear regression model can further be used for the adjustment of blade lift angles and tractor’s speed to achieve the required mulching depth during the field maintenance, replanting and access operation. 

 

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Sarhad Journal of Agriculture

June

Vol. 36, Iss. 2, Pages 374-733

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