Mechanised substitute for manual cultivation 

Mechanised substitute for manual cultivation 
Highlights

Dryland agriculture is a gamble with monsoon. Moisture availability period for germination of seed is critical. In most cases sowing window is limited to 2-5 days. Success of dryland farming depends on completion of all sowing operations within this limited time. Hence timely seeding is a key factor in success of dryland agriculture.

Dryland agriculture is a gamble with monsoon. Moisture availability period for germination of seed is critical. In most cases sowing window is limited to 2-5 days. Success of dryland farming depends on completion of all sowing operations within this limited time. Hence timely seeding is a key factor in success of dryland agriculture.

Cost of cultivation of all the crops is increasing gradually in all regions and labour shortage is becoming acute. Hence CRIDA provided technical assistance to Ramachandra Reddy, a progressive farmer from Byrapur village of Mahaboobnagar district for mechanization of castor cultivation. He purchased CRIDA 6-row tractor drawn planter, weeding blade attachment and castor sheller which are more critical interventions for timeliness of sowing and other parameters.

Conventional practice of sowing has become cumbersome in recent past with less availability of labour and skill in operation. In addition to it being time consuming, the manual dropping of seeds does not ensure proper plant stand which in turn results in poor yields. Weeding and other operations also require more labour which results in increase in cultivation cost.

Hence the farmer opted for the mechanized cultivation of the castor crop. He used all the available CRIDA implements for the castor crop and cultivated 10 hectares. The CRIDA planter consists of a hopper box for seed and fertilizer, ground wheel drive mechanism, mounting frame, seed tubes and seed metering plates.

The seed rate is controlled mechanically through ground wheel drive which in turn rotates the inclined plate through a set of bevel gears. Separate metering plates are required for different crops. The positive drive mechanism provides 95 % of seeding accuracy. Sowing with CRIDA planter helped to farmer to complete the operation in time to use the available soil moisture effectively.

Since the row to row spacing of Castor crop is 60 cm, weeding and inter-cultivation was done by Tractor drawn weeder which is an extra blade attachment to the cultivator. Normally castor threshing is done manually, which is quite laborious. Hence CRIDA castor sheller is used for threshing operation which has the capacity of shelling and cleaning of castor at the rate of 500-700 kg/hour.

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