Versatile strip seed drill: A 2-wheel tractor-based option for smallholders to implement conservation agriculture in Asia and Africa
Haque, M.E., Bell, R.W., Kassam, A. and Mia, M.N.N. (2016) Versatile strip seed drill: A 2-wheel tractor-based option for smallholders to implement conservation agriculture in Asia and Africa. Environments, 3 (1).
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Smallholders in Asia and Africa require low-cost seed drills for minimal soil disturbance while establishing various crops. A seed drill that can be drawn by the widely-available two-wheel tractor (2WT) is an attractive option for mechanization of no-till in small-sized fields. The Versatile Strip Seed Drill (VSSD) was designed with the capacity to make up to 40 mm wide and 60 mm deep strips in untilled land along with seed and basal fertilizer application in a single-pass operation, while powered by the 8.95 to 11.93 kW 2WT. An important innovation of the VSSD was to fit the seed box with both fluted roller-type seed meters for delivery of sufficient small-size seeds to achieve adequate plant density per unit row length; and vertical disk-type seed meters for precision and spaced row planting of larger seeds. Both incessant seed dropping by fluted roller seed meters and spaced planting by vertical disk type seed meters provided optimum plant populations that were generally higher than in conventional, full-tillage plots with the same rate of hand broadcasted seed and fertilizers. Time required for crop establishment by VSSD ranged from 0.13 to 0.18 ha·h−1. When the VSSD was attached to the 2WT for crop establishment, the diesel fuel consumption varied from 4.4 to 6.1 L·ha−1, which was lower than for most 2WT-based planters previously used in Bangladesh. In on-farm multi-locations trials, wheat crops established with the VSSD had statistically similar grain yield compared to conventional tillage; however, significantly higher grain yield was obtained from mustard and lentil, by 14% and 19%, respectively. The VSSD is a unique, minimum-soil-disturbance multi-crop planter, and can be a platform on which to build conservation agriculture systems for small farms in Asia and Africa.
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