Planting with accuracy for better yields on farm

Saturday March 21 2020

An agronomist explains how the farm tool shreds

An agronomist explains how the farm tool shreds animal meal. FILE PHOTO 

By Lominda Afedraru

Every farmer needs machines that make work easier, which include chaff-cutters, seeders, planters, balers, rippers and tractors.

For the small farmer, the major challenge when it comes to acquiring these machines is usually the cost, which many find prohibitive.

At a recent farmers’ workshop, Mr Gilbert Econi a technician working with Proul Uganda Ltd showcased various machines that make work easier for the small farmer. Seeds of Gold unveils them.

Potable seeder
It has a capacity of accommodating between two and three kilogrammes of seed which is pressed to the ground manually using its handle.
It is made up of springs and once pressed, the spring will enable the seed cap to open and release the seed into the hole and cover it automatically when pulled out.

It contains a regulator which holds the number of seed to be planted per hole depending on the crop variety.
The seeder which costs Shs200,000 has an output capacity of covering two acre per day.

Hand push seeder
One tool that lessens work for the smallholder farmer during planting is a hand-held manual precision seed planter.
The tool is designed for farmers practising conservation agriculture, but the others can also use it.

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The gadget plants exact quantities of seeds and applies the required fertiliser at the same time.
The tool creates slots through the soil in a gradual manner by use of the metal tip, which pierces the soil and deposits the seeds.

This enhances the proper depth of the seeds and encourages uniform germination.
This simple tool that goes for between Shs700,000 and Shs750,000 depending on the size, saves labour, especially where one has to make planting holes, apply fertiliser, sow seeds, and finally cover them.

Using the tool, precise quantities of seeds and fertilisers are dropped by hand into the funnel, which deposits the seeds and the fertiliser into two separates holes. This prevents scorching the grains with the fertiliser.

Some of the crops one can grow using the technology are maize, cowpeas and beans.
One has to be careful while using the tool to ensure uniform and correct spacing and avoid stepping on the planted areas. Proper spacing encourages adequate space utilisation.

Using the tool, one maintains the soil structure and the chances of erosion are minimised. The method of planting minimises soil disturbance and maintains an organic surface layer, a challenge to many farmers.

Transplanters
These are tools used in planting seedlings of vegetative propagated plants. These include tissue culture banana seedlings, coffee seedlings and seedlings of fruits, trees and vegetables.

A farmer is required to place one seedling at ago in the seed chamber with its pot.
It is cost effective and time saving. Once the land is prepared or the specific area for planting say for the case of banana seedlings, the farmer is ready to plant the seedlings.

The machine costs Shs250,000 and Econi contends that all these machine types are meant for small scale farmers.
Farmers who may face a challenge of purchasing such a machinery as an individual are encouraged to purchase as a group.

Jab planter
This hand-driven tool is made from wood and metal. The machine does three roles at once – it digs holes, applies fertiliser and plants with precision as the seeds are released one at a time, according to Econi.

All the farmer has to do is get the seed spacing right. To use it, push the jab planter into the soil where you want to plant the seed, open the handle to let the seed and fertiliser out and then move to the next hole.
The machine, which goes for Shs300,000, can be used to plant beans, peas and maize seeds.

Fodder shredder
For small-scale dairy farmers who chop animal feeds into small pieces, this is the machine to look out for.
The chopper is used to shred forage such as rice straw, wheat straw, maize stover and maize for ensiling.

The machine that goes for Shs4m consists of a feeder, chopper and thrower, with a transmission, a clutch and a frame.
It needs little fuel to crush fodder, with a litre of petrol lasting about an hour, said Daniel Mukasa of Agrovet dealers.

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