Farm Machinery, Farm Tips, Technological Advancement

Rice Transplanter


Rice is a cash crop that feeds millions of people around the world, in Kenya, rice demand exceeds production and the gap between production and consumption is filled through imports to meet the domestic demand at a huge cost.

It is for this reason that the Government has continued to support research on improvement of variety techniques and provision of farmers’ incentives to boost production

Farmers have for the longest time planted rice by evenly spreading the rice in the farm manually, in cases of large scale farming it has proven to be a challenge because it is often tiresome and consumes a lot of time. However, embracing machine planting can make work easier.

Machine planting means establishing young rice seedlings into puddled soil by a machine.

How does it work?

There are two types of rice transplanter i.e., riding type and walking type

Riding Type

Riding transplanter is power driven and can usually transplant six lines in one pass.

Walking Type

Walking transplanter is manually driven and can usually transplant four lines in one pass.

A transplanter consists of;

  •  A seedling tray like a shed roof on which mat type rice nursery is set
  • A seedling tray shifter that shifts the seedling tray
  • A plural pickup forks that picks up a seedling from mat type nursery on the seedling tray and puts the seedling into the earth, as if the seedlings were taken between human fingers.

How to transplant rice by machine

  1. Raise seedlings in special mat nurseries or in seedling trays. Use 18–25 kg of good seed per 100 m2 of nursery for each hectare.
  2. Seedlings will be ready for transplanting in 12–15 days after seeding.
  3. Ensure that fields are well-puddled and well-leveled.
  4. Drain fields and allow mud to settle for 1–2 days after the final puddling.
  5. The subsurface soil layers need to be hard enough to support the transplanting machine.
  6. The soil is ready when a small “V” mark made in the puddled soil with a stick holds its shape. At this moisture level, the soil can hold the seedlings upright.
  7. Soil should not be so dry that it sticks to and interferes with planting parts or wheels of the transplanter.
  8. Load the seedling mats into the machine and transplant the seedlings at the selected machine setting.

Advantages of rice transplanter

The rice planting machine has been designed and fabricated in order to deliver on:

  • Quick and efficient planting of rice.
  • Less labor need and ensuring timely planting
  • Ensuring uniform spacing and plant density
  • Low production cost.
  • Fast seedlings recovery, strong tiller, and uniform maturity.

Though the Rice Transplanter is an effective farming machine it can do so much without human intervention thus the rice farmer needs to take into consideration the following while using this machine:

  • The area needs to be well irrigated to ensure the soil loose as the transplater works best with seedlings that are still young.
  • Good nursery management practices are required from the farmer e.g Mat nursery & seedling trays.
  • Proper land preparation, land leveling and water management should be ensured.
  • Fields should be accessible for a smooth entry, exit and tour of machines.
  • The farmer needs to be knowledgeable on the workings of the machine to use it effectively.

Allan Omaset

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