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Revista Ciencias Técnicas Agropecuarias

versión On-line ISSN 2071-0054

Rev Cie Téc Agr vol.26 no.1 San José de las Lajas ene.-mar. 2017


Revista Ciencias Técnicas Agropecuarias, 26(1): 23-31, 2017, ISSN: 2071-0054




Agro-technique Evaluation of a Cuban Tow in a VertisolPelic Typical Soil


Evaluación agrotécnica de un semirremolque autobasculante en un suelo Vertisol Pélico típico



Dr.C. Yoel Betancourt-Rodríguez,I M.Sc. Maykel Cruz-Díaz,II Ing. Dayana Pérez-Santos,II Ing. Jesús Izquierdo-Daniel,I Ing. Osmel Machado-Sánchez,I

IEstación Territorial de Investigaciones de la Caña de Azúcar (ETICA Centro-Villa Clara), Ranchuelo, Villa Clara, Cuba.
IIUniversidad Central de las Villas. Santa Clara, Villa Clara, Cuba.




In order to determine the fulfillment of agro-technical parameters of Cuban self-tipping trailer in intermediate transport of sugar cane inside the field, in heavy clay soil, with mound surface, an investigation was carried out in a Vertisol typical Pelic. The harvester CASE IH 8 000 and the Cuban self-tipping trailer coupled to the tractor Maxxum CASE 150 were the equipment that participated in the harvesting process. The results showed that Cuban Trailer does not fulfill the agro-technical requirements for the sugar cane transportation under the conditions mention before, for the following reasons: it surpasses the protection area of the plants, being located at 45 cm from the end of the mound base, with a standard deviation of ± 25cm. It means that 100% of the area is under machinery traffic, applying pressures higher than 300 kPa, similar to other equipment like Zil 130, RR 6 and RC 10 trailer which are not appropriate for the traffic in the sugar cane field. Also, the height of the mound diminishes at 65%, it compacts to the soil where the 90% of the cane roots are developed, because it increases significantly the apparent density and the penetration resistance until 20 cm from the superficial horizon, in soil humidity of 51% hbss. The modification of the self-tipping trailer was recommended for using it under these conditions.

Key words: compaction, penetration resistance, intermediate transport.


Con el objetivo de evaluar el cumplimiento de los parámetros agrotécnicos del semirremolque en el transporte de la caña de azúcar dentro de campos con superficie acanterada, se realizó una investigación en un suelo VertisolPélico típico. En la cosecha participaron la combinada CASE IH 8 000 y el semirremolque acoplado al tractor Maxxum CASE 150. Los resultados mostraron que el autobasculante no cumple con los requerimientos agrotécnicos para el trasbordo de caña en las condiciones descritas, por las siguientes causas: sobrepasa la zona de protección de las plantas, ubicándose a 45 cm tomando como referencia el extremo de la base del cantero, con una desviación estándar de ± 25cm, lo que conlleva a que con este sistema de cosecha en general se trafique sobre el 100% del área; al no respetar la zona de protección del cultivo en uno de los canteros sobre los cuales transita, llega a aplicar presiones superiores a 300 kPa, similares a otros equipos como el Zil 130, Remolque RR 6 y Remolque RC 10 no adecuados para el tráfico dentro del campo, lo que disminuye la altura del cantero hasta 11 cm (65%); compacta el suelo en la zona donde se desarrolla en 90% de las raíces de la caña, al incrementar significativamente la densidad aparente y la resistencia a la penetración hasta 20 cm del horizonte superficial, en humedades próximas al 51% hbss.

Palabras clave: compactación, resistencia a la penetración, transporte intermedio.




Sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum L.) is a cultivation of lofty worldwide relevance. Sucrose, one of the main energetic suppliers in human feeding, is extracted from its stem. It is native to Asia, more exactly to countries like India, Malaysia and China. It was taken to other tropical and subtropical countries by merchants and colonizers. It was introduced in Cuba by the Spanish during colonization1 (Vicini y Vicini, 2010; Hernández y Hernández, 2013).

Soil compaction is one of the causes affecting sugar cane yield in Cuba. Infield traffic of machine in harvest seasons is considered within the most important factors of soil compaction. In that process, the harvest system and the harvest-transport technological machine complex are identified as the great interest because of their negative impact on the physical and mechanical soil properties2, 3 (Saffih-Hdadi et al., 2009; González et al., 2013a, 2013b).

These mechanized harvest systems also include the transport system named Tiro Partido o Trasbordo de caña (the use of self-tipping trailer pull by tractor to move in the field and a truck with a trailer to transport the sugar cane to the industry) because they have the following benefits: reduction of the damages of the cane fields caused by the mechanized harvest, increased productivity, decreased costs of the harvest and improvement of the material quality that goes to the industry4.

The soils of the north of Villa Clara province have specific characteristics such as scarce slope, high content of Montmorillonitic clay (2:1), scarce working depth, poor internal and external drainage, high plasticity, adhesion and cohesion. The peculiarities indicated before led to a different agro-technical handling in cane cultivation, especially, mound plantation (Gutiérrez et al., 2013).

Due to the irregularities detected in the fulfillment of agro-technical parameters of Cuban self-tipping trailer, because having a track gage unsuitable to the distance of plantation, it is possible to affect the soil physical properties as a result of the traffic over the mound.

Taking in to account such irregularities, the objective of this paper is to evaluate the fulfillment of agro-technical characteristics of Cuban self-tipping trailer in the sugar cane infield transportation in heavy clay soils with mound surface.



The research was carried out at Tito González agricultural farm, that belongs to Héctor Rodríguez Sugar Cane Mill, on a soil classified as typical Vertisol Pelic, according to the new classification of Cuban soils (Hernández et al., 2015).

The area was planted in mounds with a stump of the first shoot of C89-250 variety and of 50 tha-1 estimated efficiency. The principal indicators taken into consideration to characterize the field conditions were:

-Distance between rows; height, mound base and top width, m. A measuring tape was used with an appreciation level of 1mm.

-Humidity according to the dry soil (hbss), %. It was determined by the gravimetric method, taking the soil samples every 0,1 m till 0,3 m depth in the center of the row. Humid and dry mass of the samples were determined in the lab with 0,01g appreciation level scale.

Other characteristics like soil density, penetration resistance and mound profile were also evaluated; but as they are part of the evaluation carried out in the experiment they are explained later.

Mechanized harvest variant and sugar cane transportation system in the field were used. Some technical characteristics of the equipment used are shown in Table 1 (CASE IH AGRICULTURE, 2009 and 2011).

The dimension of the truck dump set of wheel are: track gage 2,70 m and total width of 3,30 m.

The following evaluations were made:

-Equipment transportation speed during the harvest, kmh-1. It was determined by 50 m linear with a chronometer of 1 s of appreciation.

-The distance of the self-tipping trailer tire penetrations in the security stripe of land (D) (Figure 2). Starting from the dimensions of the trailer set of wheels (Figure 1), track gage (B), tire width (b), number of row under the trailer (n), one in this case; and the parameters related to the plantation in the mound plantation distance (M) of 1,6 m and exterior security strip of land (Cext) of 0,40 m; it is noticed that (Chudakov, 1977):

Mound profile. By means of the use of bubble level and a perfilometer with divisions in the horizontal plane every 5 cm and measurement appreciation in the vertical plane of 1 mm (Figure 2).

Average specific pressure on the soil in normal and real conditions of the self-tipping trailer, kPa.

Normal work conditions are defined in this paper as those where the trailer tire rests on the soil, according to the design; and real conditions where the opposite occurs, that is only part of the tire rests on the soil. The analysis of this evaluation was carried out taking into account the total weight of the self-tipping trailer.

The Specific mid pressure for normal conditions (Pn) was determined using the following expression:

Where: Wn, Weight on the tire (kN) and An, Tire contact area with the soil in normal condition, m².

To determine An the following expression proposed by Sanchez-Giron (1996) was applied.

Being: bn, Track width, m; in normal working condition, which is in relation to the tire constructive width (bc), it is solved like:

and l, Track width in normal work condition, it is determined like:

Where: δ, Tire deformation, m; considering a deformation of 20% according to the height of the tire, then:

Solving h by the expression:

Being: dc y di, External and internal diameters of the tire, m.

Specific mid pressure for real conditions was determined using the same expression (2), but in this case:

Where: Ar, Real contact area of the tire with the soil, m².

The real area was determined measuring the width and length of tire contact on the mound in Situ, with a measuring tape of 1 mm of appreciation.

Penetration resistance, kgcm-2. By means of a Penetrograph with normalized end (ASAE S313,3 FEB04), 1 kg of appreciation, a cone base diameter of 12,83 mm and 30 degree conic end. The evaluation was carried out till 0,3 m of depth, before and after the track of the self-tipping trailer traffic.

Apparent or dry density, gcm-3. It was determined by the cylindrical method, using cylinders of 50 cm3. Soil samples were taken every 0,1 m and till depth in each replica, before and after the self-tipping trailer . Humid and dry mass of samples were determined in the lab with scale of 0,01 g level of appreciation.

The obtained data in the different researches were automatically processed, using the statistical package STATGRAPHICS Plus 5.1 (Statistical Graphics Crop, 2000). T-Student Test was applied to independent samples as criteria to estimate the differences between sampling average, to a 95% of probability, in the evaluation of penetration resistance and apparent density before and after the self-tipping trailer track on the mound.



Research conditions were characterized by the following average values: distance between rows of 1,6 m; height, base and top width of the mound of 0,16; 0,86; and 0,47 m, respectively. On the other hand, the moving speed of the equipment during the harvest was 5,5 kmh-1.

The average penetration distance of the self-tipping trailer tire in the security strips of land (D) was 45 cm, with a standard deviation of ± 25 cm. That result causes the following situations: if the equipment is in the symmetric way, D is about 45 cm, the self-tipping trailer is placed like in Figure 2a; but if it is asymmetrically placed, in one of the wheel D is higher or equal to 20 cm and lower than 45 cm and in the other tire, it will be higher than this last value (Figure 2b), reaching about 70 cm.

In mechanized harvest of sugar cane in Cuba, the system of wheel of the harvester and the transportation equipment with trailer, being a tractor or a truck go twice over the zone of traffic, the spaces between rows, aspect that provoke the deformation of the soil section in this area far from the cane stalk, represented in both ends of the curve DC (After harvest) by Zt (Figure 3).

In the particular case of the transfer system with the self-tipping trailer, object of investigation that goes over the mound, section changes are originated in the security strip of land of the cultivation that is in the cane stalk, represented by Zc, where the average deformation is from 4 to 6 cm in the top of the mound, between 25 y 35%.

It is important to point out that the harvest system with the Cuban self-tipping trailer traffics over the 100% of the sugar cane area, differing from the systems that are used on the north of Villa Clara, where it only goes over between 40 and 56%, as a result of taking in to account in higher or lesser degree the security strip of cultivation.

As the Cuban self-tipping trailer in mound surfaces, does not fulfill the protection zone of the crop, it exerts similar pressure to the average of both tire trains (forward and backward) of equipment that are not designed to the infield traffic and are used for cane transportation in Cuba (Figure 4), such as the Zil 130 truck, the RC 10 trailer (10 t of capacity and trailed by the KAMAZ 53212 truck) and the trailer RR 6 (6 t of capacity and trailed by the Zil 130 truck), with and average weight between axis, according to González (2011), of 305 kPa, 370 kPa and 309 kPa; respectively.

The traffic of the self-tipping trailer over the mound not only deforms the soil surface, but also provokes an important increase of the apparent density (Da) in the superficial horizon (Table 2).

The largest soil compaction after the self-tipping trailer traffic was found in the section from 0 to 10 cm with an average humidity of 40% hbss in the first 30 cm, increasing density in 7% (0,07gcm-3). When the humidity is 51%hbss the soil compaction reaches 20 cm of depth, increasing Da from 0-10 cm, similar to the result presented before and a bit lower in the soil layer from 10 to 20 cm.

The stated results are due to the soil compaction process increases with humidity till a limit value. Till that point the capillary tension reduction and the effort of compacting or reordering the particle are more effective, that is that water acts as a lubricant, according to Juarez (1972) and Sowers (1979), cited by7. Over passing that humidity content, the opposite starts to take place, because the empty place is reduced and in humidity proximal to saturation, in order to occur the compact process, there must be drainage of the water in the soil, phenomenon with restricted effects because effort provoked by a truck passing through is relatively short. On the other hand, when increasing the humidity content, the soil resistance to the compression is reduced, as it was expressed before, what explain the significant increase of Da till 20 cm in 51%hbss.

Penetration resistance (Rp) increases greatly with a 9 kgcm-2 (883 kPa) average in the first 10 cm of the soil after the self-tipping trailer went over the mound with 40%hbss of humidity (Table 3). In 51%hbss, it was significant till 20 cm, with lesser increase.

The results of the penetration resistance evaluation in the row of sugar cane were similar to the apparent density of the soil, aspect that is conditioned by the close relation between both indicators. In this sense, according to Nacci y Pla (1992), y Rodríguez y Valencia (2012)1992; Rodr\\uc0\\u237{}guez y Valencia, 2012, the penetration resistance is the sum of different physical and mechanical soil properties like apparent density, humidity and shear strength.

In Colombia, Rodríguez y Valencia (2012) also reported traffic over the Sugar Cane rows of middle and fine soil texture because of the use of means of transport with no adequate track gage according to the plantation distance, that went over 66% of the soil surface by the traffic, with a width between 0,4 and 0,5 m, increasing the apparent density and the penetration resistance of the soil in that place.

The obtained result confirm the hypothesis stated in the introduction of this paper, the affectation of physical properties by the self-tipping trailer traffic over the mound in heavy clay soil.



The self-tipping trailer exceeds the protection area of plants, located at 45 cm taking the extreme of the mound base as reference, with a deviation of 25 cm what brings out that, with this harvest system in general, traffic occurs over 100% of the field.

The specific pressure applied in one of the mounds affected by the field traffics is higher than 300 kPa, similar to other equipment such as Zil 130, RR 6 trailer and RC 10 trailer that are not designed to go into the field, which diminishes the mound height up to 11 cm (65%), in humidity of 51%hbss.

The soil is compacted in the area where the 90% of the sugar cane roots are developed, when increasing significantly the apparent density and the penetration resistance till 20 cm of the superficial horizon in humidity of 51% hbss.



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Received: 13/09/2015
Approved: 14/11/2016



Yoel Betancourt-Rodríguez, Inv, Estación Territorial de Investigaciones de la Caña de Azúcar (ETICA Centro-Villa Clara), Ranchuelo, Villa Clara, Cuba. Email:

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