Design modification and fabrication of a manually operated paddy rice seedlings planter
Kakembo, Henry Jr
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One of the labour-intensive processes in lowland rice cultivation in Uganda is transplanting. Manual transplanting is very tedious and time-consuming operation, requiring about 250-300 man per ha per hour. Hand transplanting is roughly 25% of the total rice growing labour requirement where laborers have to work in slouching position in puddled fields which leads to physical ailments like musculoskeletal disorders. In order to reduce the effects of manual method of rice seedlings transplanting, mechanisation of the operation is adopted. An economical and user-friendly two row paddy rice seedlings planter machine for small scale and marginal farmers was first developed using locally available materials. However, the first attempted developed machine was limited from gripping in mud and seedlings would fall off from the planting finger before they are planted. A modified design to counteract the shortcomings of the transplanting machine was fabricated at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyoro and evaluated for performance at National Crop Resources Research Institute Namulonge rice field. The average hill spacing was 30 cm with 3-4 seedlings per plant at a transplanting depth of about 5cm. The pulling force required for operating the machine was 8.0 kgf at forward speed of 1.5 km/hour. The field capacity of the machine was 0.026 acres per hour with field efficiency of 55%. The total operating cost of two row paddy transplanter was $54 per acre with only two labours required for the transplanting operation making a percentage cost saving of 50% as compared to conventional transplanting.