Productivity and energy efficiency of three tillage systems for maize (Zea mayz L.) production

Keywords: Rain-fed agriculture, animal traction, mechanized traction, sustainability


The amount of inputs and dry matter yields of grain, stover and weeds were quantifi ed in six sites located in the districts of Zaachila and Etla, in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca Region, México. The tillage systems evaluated, which are the most widely used for corn production in this region, were full animal traction (FAT), mixed traction (MXT) and mechanical traction (MT). The higher productivity was achieved in the MT system, followed by the MxT system. According to the energy balance, the largest energy effi ciency (EE) was achieved in the FAT system with a value of 34.4 and the least one with the MT system. The lowest EE of the MT system was associated to a higher use of machinery operations and the use of petrol derivate products. No signifi cant differences in EE were found between the FAT and MxT systems; when the weed’s dry matter production was considered, EE in this last system was increased 14%, while in the FAT system an 8% increase was observed. Therefore, besides the FAT system, MxT is also recommended because it is common to have plots smaller than 1 ha in the region and mechanical plowing is more effi cient for primary tillage operations, while animal power can be used as a renewable source of energy for tasks such as weeding and transport.

= 73 veces | PDF
= 74 veces|


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Jaime Ruiz-Vega, Instituto Politécnico Nacional

Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral Regional (CIIDIR) Unidad Oaxaca

Niurka Mena-Mesa, Universidad de Ciego de Ávila

Facultad de Ingeniería

Fidel Diego-Nava, Instituto Politécnico Nacional

Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral Regional (CIIDIR) Unidad Oaxaca

Miguel Herrera-Suárez, Universidad Agraria de la Habana

Centro de Mecanización Agropecuaria (CEMA)


INEGI. Censo Agrícola, Ganadero y Forestal. 2007. Available on: Accessed: September 15, 2011.

Grupo Consultivo Integral Nuevo Milenio S.A. de C.V. Diagnóstico del sistema-producto básicos (maíz-frijol) del estado de Oaxaca. Estudio diagnóstico. Oficina Estatal de Información para el Desarrollo Rural Sustentable (OEIDRUS). Oaxaca, México. 2004. pp. 1-74.

M. Bertocco, B. Basso, B. Sartori, E. Martin. “Evaluating energy efficiency of site-specific tillage in maize in NE Italy”. Biores. Technol. Vol. 99. 2008. pp. 6957-6965.

N. Koga. “An energy balance under a conventional crop rotation system in Northern Japan: Perspective on fuel ethanol production from sugar beet”. Agric., Ecosyst. and Environ. Vol. 125. 2008. pp. 101-110.

P. Paneque, C. Soca, N. León, P. Pérez, D. García. “Ahorro de energía utilizando labranza de conservación”. Rev. Ciencias Téc. Agropec. Vol. 15. 2006. pp. 39-41.

J. Ruiz. “Zonificación Agroecológica del Maíz de Temporal en los Valles Centrales de Oaxaca. Determinación del Potencial Productivo”. Terra. Vol. 16. 1998. pp. 269-275.

O. Masera, M. Astier. “Energía y sistema alimentario en México: Aportaciones de la agricultura alternativa”. J. Trujillo, F. de León, R. Calderón, P. Torres (editors). Ecología aplicada a la agricultura: temas selectos de México. 1st ed. Ed. Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana. México, D. F., México. 1996. pp. 17-34.

A. Franzluebbers, M. Arshad. “Soil organic matter pools with conventional and zero tillage in a cold, semiarid climate”. Soil & Tillage Research. Vol. 39. 1996. pp. 1-11.

E. Šarauskis, K. Romaneckas, S. Buragienė. “Impact of Conventional and Sustainable Soil Tillage and Sowing Technologies on Physical-Mechanical Soil Properties”. Environmental Research, Engineering and Management. Vol. 3. 2009. pp. 36-43.

K. Atreyaa, S. Sharmab, R. Bajracharyab, N. Rajbhandari. “Developing a sustainable agro-system for central Nepal using reduced tillage and straw mulching”. Journal of Environmental Management. Vol. 88. 2008. pp. 547-555.

R. Fluck. Energy: The Hidden Input. Southern Regional Workshop: Evaluating Sustainability. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, University of Florida, USDA and ACE. Gainesville, USA. 1995. pp. 31- 43.

L. Szott. Energía en la Agricultura. Guía del curso Agricultura Tropical Sostenible. Programa de Doctorado en Sistemas de Producción Agrícola Tropical Sostenible (SPATS), Universidad de Costa Rica. San José, Costa Rica. 1998. pp. 1-4.

D. Pimentel, G. Beradi, S. Fast. “Energy efficiency of farming systems: organic and conventional agriculture”. Agric. Ecosyst. & Environ. Vol. 9. 1983. pp. 359-372.

B. Risoud, B. Chopinet. “Efficacité énergétique et diversité des systems de production agricole. Application à des exploitation bourguignonnes”. Ingénieries EAT. Vol. 20. 1999. pp. 17-25.

C. Hall, M. Hall. “The efficiency of land and energy use in tropical economies and agriculture”. Agric. Ecosyst. & Environ. Vol. 46. 1993. pp. 1-30.

C. Uhl, P. Murphy. “A comparison of productivities and energy values between slash and burn agriculture and secondary succession in the upper Rio Negro region on the Amazon Basin”. Agroecosystems. Vol. 7. 1981. pp. 63-83.

D. Karlen, M. Duffi, T. Colvin. “Nutrient, labor, energy and economic evaluations of two farming systems in Iowa”. J. Prod. Agric. Vol. 8. 1995. pp. 540-546.

C. Langue, M. Khelifi. “Energy use and time requirements for different.weeding strategies in grain corn”. Can. Biosyst. Engineer. Vol. 43. 2000. pp. 213-221.

Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN). Normales climatológicas por estación. México, D. F., México. Available on: Accessed: September 23, 2010.

FAO, ISRIC, ISSS. World reference base for soil resources. World Soil Resources Reports No. 84. 1998. Rome, Italy. Available on: Accessed: December 15, 2011.

R. García. Los Animales en los Sistemas Agroecológicos. 1st ed. Ed. Asociación Cubana de Agricultura Orgánica (ACAO). Havana, Cuba. 1996. pp. 1-100.

J. Gil, Ó. Veroz, J. Hernanz. Ahorro y Eficiencia Energética con Agricultura de Conservación. Instituto para la Diversificación y Ahorro de la Energía. Madrid, Spain. 2009. Available on: Accessed: December 20, 2012.

A. Tabatabaeefar, H. Emamzadeh, M. Ghasimi, R. Rahimizadeh, M. Karisimi. “Comparison of Energy of Tillage Systems in Wheat Production”. Energy. Vol. 34. 2009. pp. 41-45.

M. Meul, F. Nevens, D. Reheul, G. Hofman. “Energy use efficiency of specialized dairy, arable and pig farms in flanders”. Agric. Ecosyst. & Environ. Vol. 119. 2007. pp. 135-144.

G. Guzmán, A. Alonso. “A comparison of energy use in conventional and organic olive oil production in Spain”. Agric. Syst. Vol. 98. 2008. pp. 167-176.

A. Kaltsas, A. Mamolos, C. Tsatsarelis, G. Nanos, K. Kalburtji. “Energy budget in organic and conventional olive groves”. Agric. Ecosyst. & Environ. Vol. 122. 2007. pp. 243-251.

L. Pordesimo, B. Hames, S. Sokhansanj, W. Edens. “Variation in corn stover composition and energy content with crop maturity”. Biomass and Bioenergy. Vol. 28. 2005. pp. 366-374.

C. Tsatsarelis. “Energy requirements for cotton production in central Greece”. Journal of Agricultural Engineering Research. Vol. 50. 1991. pp. 239-246.

SAS (Statistical Analysis System) Institute Incorporation. SAS/STAT 9.0. User’s Guide. SAS Institute Inc. North Caroline, USA. 2002. pp. 121-130.

M. López, V. Vázquez, S. Salazar, T. Zúñiga, H. Trejo. “Sistemas de labranza y fertilización en la producción de maíz forrajero”. Phyton. Vol. 79. 2010. pp. 47-54.

M. Bravo, M. Nieuwkoop, R. Contreras, J. Jiménez, M. Morales. El potencial de la labranza de conservación en la Mixteca Oaxaqueña. 1ª ed. Ed. INIFAP; CIMMYT. México, D. F, México. 1993. pp. 1-58.

R. González, A. Martínez, F. Basurto, H. Vibrans. “Crop and non-crop productivity in a traditional maize agroecosystem of the highland of Mexico”. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. Vol. 5. 2009. Available on: Accessed: September 13, 2010.

S. Ritchie, J. Hanway, G. Benson. How a corn plant develops. Special Report N.° 48. Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Cooperative Extension Service Ames. 1992. Available on: Accessed: November 15, 2012.

J. Ruiz, M. Silva. “Zonificación Agroecológica del Cultivo del Maíz de Temporal en los Valles Centrales de Oaxaca II. Determinación de las Prácticas de Producción Adecuadas”. Terra. Vol. 17. 1999. pp. 361- 366.

A. Bautista, R. Carrillo, M. Arnaud, C. Robles, F. León. “Soil fertility properties on Agave angustifolia Haw. plantations”. Soil and Tillage Research. Vol. 96. 2007. pp. 342-349.

J. Okalebo, K. Gathua, P. Woomer. Laboratory Methods of Soil and Plant Analysis: A working manual. 1st ed. Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Programme; UNESCO. Nairobi, Kenya. 1993. pp. 1-88.

E. Arrieche, M. Ruiz. “Influence of inorganic and organic fertilization on microbial biomass carbon and maize yield in two soils of contrasting pH”. Agrociencia. Vol. 44. 2010. pp. 249-260.

S. Shahan, A. Jafari, H. Mobli, S. Rafiee, M. Karimi. “Energy use and economical analysis of wheat production in Iran: A case study from Ardabil province”. J. Agric. Technol. Vol. 4. 2008. pp. 77-88.

M. Fumagalli M. Acutis F. Mazzetto F. Vidotto G. Sali L. Bechini. “An analysis of agricultural sustainability of cropping systems in arable and dairy farms in an intensively cultivated plain”. European Journal of Agronomy. Vol. 34. 2011. pp. 71-82.

B. Ozkan, A. Kurklu, H. Akcaoz. “An input-output energy analysis in greenhouse vegetable production: A case study for Antalya region of Turkey”. Biomass and Bioenergy. Vol. 26. 2004. pp. 89-95.

S. Gliessman. Agroecology: Ecological Processes in Sustainable Agriculture. 1st ed. Ed. Lewis Publishers. Boca Raton, USA. 2000. pp. 1-357.

R. Mohammadhossein, A. Waismoradi, R. Hoshang. “Energy Efficiency of Different Tillage Systems in Forage Corn Production”. Intnl. J Agri Crop Sci. Vol. 4. 2012. pp. 1644-1652.

F. Funes. Agricultura con futuro. La alternativa agroecológica para cuba. 1st ed. Estación Experimental “Indio Hatuey”. Matanzas, Cuba. 2009. pp. 1-196.

H. Cuevas, T. Rodríguez, P. Paneque, M. Herrera. “La labranza conservacionista y sus gastos energéticos”. Rev. Ciencias Téc. Agrop. Vol. 13. 2004. pp. 29-36.

How to Cite
Ruiz-Vega J., Mena-Mesa N., Diego-Nava F., & Herrera-Suárez M. (2015). Productivity and energy efficiency of three tillage systems for maize (Zea mayz L.) production. Revista Facultad De Ingeniería Universidad De Antioquia, (76), 66-72.