Metallurgical Requirements of Soil Engaging Component under Conservation Agriculture Practices
Keywords:Agricultural implement, alloy steel, soil engaging component, slit-till drill
In this study, test reports of materials used for soil/crop engaging components of agricultural machinery were collected from some Agricultural Machinery Testing Centres situated in different agro-climatic zones across India. The study revealed that only 39.87% and 37.72% of tested soil engaging components conformed with the standards of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for material hardness and chemical composition, respectively. Furthermore, 38.5% fast-wearing components were made of high carbon steel, followed by medium carbon steel (33.0%), low carbon steel (25.0%), and tool steel (3.5%). It was observed that reputed manufacturers used high carbon and tool steel for fabricating critical components, and also heat-treated them for getting desirable product properties. Accordingly, four types of steel (D-2, M-4, EN-31, EN-8 with heat treatments) easily available in market were used for fabricating soil engaging blades suitable for conservation agriculture (CA) machinery. Wear test results showed lowest wear rate for D-2 and highest for EN-8 steel. Furthermore, D-2 also had highest relative life, and found most suitable for manufacturing soil engaging components of conservation agriculture machinery.