Mechanical sugarcane planters simultaneously perform ploughing, fertiliser application, seedling metering and furrow covering operations. This study aimed to evaluate the billet metering quality and uniformity of a sugarcane planter and the total damage to buds. The experimental design used was completely randomised in a 2 x2 factorial arrangement totalling four treatments, which consisted of two planting speeds (5.0 and 6.5 km h-1) and two conveyor belt rotation speeds (50 and 100%, which corresponds to 45 and 85 rpm, respectively, in the conveyor belt pulley), with 20 replicates per treatment. The following parameters were evaluated: number of billets m-1, total buds m-1, viable buds m-1 and damaged buds (%). The planter metering mechanism exhibited uniform billet metering with low bud damage (5.9%). The increase in working speed decreased the number of billets (9.7 m-1), total buds (22.9 m-1) and viable buds (18.5 m-1). Furthermore, the increase in conveyor belt rotation speed also increased these parameters.
Key words: Statistical process control, agricultural mechanisation, planting speed, Saccharum officinarum.
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