La construction de semoirs pour semis direct ne demande pas une grande technologie. Les Syriens et Irakiens l'ont fait. Pourquoi pas les Algériens. Il existe des modèles simples (voir aussi la rubrique spéciale "semis direct"). A Mezloug (Sétif) Mr Refoufi et ses fils ont construit le premier semoir algérien pour semis direct.





Farmer innovation: seeder fabrication and uptake of zero tillage in Iraq

Jalili S1, Fathi G1, Fathi Y1, AlRijabo AS2, Piggin C3, Desbiolles J4

1Al Namroud District, Mosul, Ninevah, Iraq;

2University of Mosul, Ninevah, Iraq

3International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas, Aleppo, Syria

4University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia


Keywords: zero tillage, farmer groups, adoption constraints, participatory development, zero-till seeder



The viability of dryland cropping in northern Iraq is threatened by drought, reduced yields, increasing costs and environmental degradation. Whilst many countries have developed more productive, profitable and sustainable conservation cropping systems based around zero tillage (ZT), Iraqi systems have changed little, remaining heavily dependent on cultivation. In conventional cultivation (CC), farmers plough 1-2 times with 2-2.5m wide chisel or disc ploughs drawn by 70-120 hp tractors which can plough 20 ha day-1; each cultivation uses about 8 litres of diesel and costs US$12-16 ha-1. Crops are commonly planted using modified disc plough seeders with little control over seed placement, or conventional tine seeders including the Australian made John Shearer brand previously commercialised in the region, as well as the locally made RAMA duplicates. Cropping profitability has been reduced, especially since 2004, as diesel, spare parts and labour costs have risen. Soil structure has declined, and soils, if dry, became powder-like after ploughing. ZT was first introduced into Iraq and evaluated in farmer field demonstrations during the 2006-07 cropping season under an ACIAR-AusAID project, based at ICARDA in Aleppo, Syria to improve crop production in the northern Iraqi province of Ninevah, a large contributor to national wheat and barley production. Rising expenses, less revenue due to drought and soil degradation made ZT appealing to farmers; several had visited ICARDA in 2006/2007 and were impressed with the early ZT trials. In the first season in Iraq, results from demonstrations in farmer fields were encouraging, as crop performance was generally better with ZT than CC. In a replicated trial/demonstration under supplementary irrigation (SI) on Jalili's farm in 2009-10, OmRabi durum wheat yielded 1.74 t ha-1 under CC and a significantly (P=0.01) higher 2.29 t ha-1 under ZT (LSD = 0.24 t ha-1).

Initial zero-till development and use of local seeders The main constraint to zero-till adoption in Ninevah was the availability of effective and affordable ZT seeders. Indian made ZT seeders, initially brought into Iraq by the project, were excellent for early evaluations but too small (1.8m wide), light and prone to breakage; with relatively large areas, farmers needed wider and more robust seeders. A leading farmer (Sinan Jalili), took the initiative to convert a 20 tine, 3.6m wide John Shearer seeder (Plate 1), set at 18cm row spacing. This was done by cutting the existing John Shearer tine shanks and adapting Baker boot style openers (Plate 2). The whole conversion cost US$800. In the 2007-08 season, this modified seeder was used to establish ZT demonstration plots (4 ha) for the project on the Jalily farm.

In 2008-09, encouraged by good crop performance and an obvious reduction in expenses, the area seeded with the modified ZT seeder was increased to 250 ha of rainfed crops.

In 2009-10, the modification and improvement of tines continued, following farmer participation in a ZT machinery training course held at ICARDA in April 2009 in collaboration with Dr Jack Desbiolles of the University of South Australia. During this training, tine and opener design options and field performance issues were discussed, and examples of zero-till John Shearer tines fitted with narrow point openers were displayed. This approach was appealing to farmers because it did not require alteration of the valuable John Shearer seeding tines. Two different opener prototypes were designed using an ACAD software and manufactured locally; a knife blade (Plate 3) for harder soils (rake angle 65°,

width 14mm), and a spear head blade for lighter soils and more soil throw (rake angle 45°, width 14mm). Maximum tine breakout force was measured using a horizontal hydraulic jack attached to a scale (Plate 4) and set to 750 Newton for single-spring and 950 Newton for double spring tines. Press wheels (25 cm diameter, 3.5 cm width) were manufactured in gangs of four (Plate 5) and attached to the fourth tool bar of the seeder (Plate 6). The tine and opener prototypes were tested in the field by measuring depth and width of furrows, backfill percentage and distance of soil throw. The effectiveness of press wheels in covering and packing seeds and shaping the seed row was also tested. The modification cost for a seeder

was US$1250, and the local Rama seeders of two more farmers in the group were modified for ZT. Using the three modified seeders, the area cropped in 2009-10 by the three farmers was 1250 ha. Tine breakout force, with spring adjustment in the "maximum attainable" setting, was effective in the hardest soils encountered. Seeding depth was 3.5-5 cm, furrow tilling depth was 8-10 cm, and seed covering in dry soils was complete. Seeding started in early November and continued through December. There were no problems with handling stubble or sticky soils, due to previous drought in 2008-09 and delayed rains during seeding.

Seed germination was uniform (Plate 7) and moisture was visibly harvested and conserved in the furrows. The season was dry and, whilst yields were constrained in rainfed areas, ZT without stubble retention yielded better than CC fields. The group held the first ever field day arranged by farmers in Ninevah on 20 February 2010 to present ZT concepts and ZTCC comparisons to fellow farmers. In the demonstration plots, it was clear ploughing did not add benefits to the crop performance under either supplementary irrigation or rainfed conditions, but most importantly ZT was more economic because of no ploughing costs.


Expanding seeder upgrades and ZT demonstrations

In 2010-11, the project encouraged further development and provided support to the farmer group for extending the conversion of seeders to another 18 farmers in Ninevah. Thedevelopment of ZT conversion kits was focused on the John Shearer seeder because it is widely used by farmers and has a proven durability, good under-frame clearance, multiple

tool bars, good stubble handling capacity, changeable tine-row spacing (18, 27,36 cm) and adjustable tine breakout force. The conversion kits were simple, affordable and made locally, to facilitate installation and maintenance. The group supervised the whole process, providing guidance in the factory on tine and opener specifications, and instructions to farmers on tine and press wheel setting up process. The area sown with farmer-modified ZT seeders was 5000 ha across three areas in the province. Due to previous dry seasons, stubble was mostly removed from rainfed plots, with some retained under SI systems. Rain came at the beginning of December, and some farmers encountered tine and press wheel problems in wet soils. There was heavy stubble on some SI fields and two farmers experienced stubble flow problems which were solved by redistributing tines on three rather than two tool bars, increasing tine distance along the bar from 36 to 54 cm, and lifting the seed box 30cm to maintain free flow of seed and fertilizer to the furthest tines. Press wheels did not have mud scrapers which caused difficulties in wet soils and also suffered dust problems in bearings before rain. Farmers were pleased with the diesel and time savings and the method of conversion, which did not alter the original tines but required only replacement of sweeps with points and calibration of tine breakout force and press wheel pressure, and were also impressed with the uniformity of established seed rows (Plate 8). The group went further by fabricating a 2.3m ZT tine seeder for small farmers, to act as a prototype for further expansion of ZT technology. It has a robust frame of three tool bars (Plate 9), a reclaimed seed box and metering system, and new seed cups, seed hoses, tines, ZT openers and press wheels, all easily pulled by a 70hp tractor (Plate 10). It was used to sow 30 hectares, and achieved uniform germination, good seedling establishment, good tillering and spike production (Plate 11) despite limited rainfall and hot days in March. In on-going development, the group also manufactured a new-style tine to provide more options for ZT seeders (Plate 12).

Plate 1: Local 3.6 m

Plate 2: First prototype

Plate 3: Early design of

Plate 4: Local testing of John Shearer seeder ZT opener knife blade opener tine breakout force

Plate 5: Locally made

Plate 6: Local 3.6 m seeder

Plate 7: Good early

Plate 8: Good early gang of 4 presswheels converted for ZT with press germination with ZT under SI establishment under ZT wheels

Plate 9 : Fabrication of local

Plate 10: Local 22.3 m ZT

Plate 11:Excellent crop sown

Plate 12:New generation ZT 2.3 m ZT seeder seeder operation with local ZT seeder tine to expand ZT seeder options



Awareness and experience of ZT, and availability of effective and affordable ZT seeders are keys to adoption of ZT. The direct involvement of many Iraqi farmers in ICARDA training and study visits gave them the necessary starting knowledge-base of ZT and local ZT seeder manufacture, which had been pioneered in Syria. Iraqi farmer group efforts and success in converting conventional seeders to ZT increased awareness and provided the opportunity for a large number of Ninevah farmers to try ZT with minimal cost. The area sown with modified seeders in Ninevah has increased from 250 ha by one farmer in 2008-09 to 5000 ha by eighteen farmers in 2010-11, which is a promising initial uptake. The group work to fabricate a small ZT seeder and a more advanced ZT tine enhances the foundation for local manufacture of effective ZT seeders anad w ider applicability to small farmers. The new ZT system, a radical change from heavy cultivation, wl nileed on-going monitoring and adaptation to understand and solve machinery, crop and system problems as they emerge in Iraq, as has been done in countries such as Australia, where ZT has been used for over 30 years and is now adopted in the various statesby up to 90% of cropping farmers. In an important 2011 development, the farmer group established the "Mosul Society of Conservative Agriculture" to further encourage and support conservation cropping development in Nineva






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Ce site vise à réaliser une veille technologique concernant l'agriculture en milieu semi-aride. Nous proposons ainsi de réaliser un transfert de technologie. Beaucoup d'agriculteurs et agronomes sont à l'origine de techniques innovantes, nous essayerons de mieux les faire connaître.


L'auteur de ce site est un ingénieur agronome ayant travaillé sur le terrain en Algérie (Batna) et en France (Oise). Passionné d'agronomie et d'une curiosité insatiable, il se propose d'être un "passeur de savoir".

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