Development and Performance Evaluation of Rice-Fallow Pulse Planter for Wetland Rice Ecosystem
In wetland rice ecosystem, sowing of pulse either blackgram or greengram is generally performed either by broadcasting seeds manually in standing crop of rice fields at 7 to 10 days before harvest or dibbling manually immediately after rice harvest as traditional practices, a low cost technology which involves only sowing and seed cost. Nonetheless, these practices causes constraints like uneven distribution of seeds at shallow depth in broadcasting method and randomly placed seeds with improper depth and loss of moisture in manual dibbling after rice harvest which in-turn leads to poor contact between seeds and soil, low germination, more weed growth, unhealthy plants and lower yield. Of the field conditions followed, sowing in the standing crop condition at 7-10 days before rice harvest has advantage of more moisture content rather after harvesting rice at which residual moisture content is less. However, for effective utilization of residual moisture besides other resources like light, space and nutrients, placing seeds at proper spacing and at optimum depths is a must so as to better growth and development and yield of crop. As sowing seeds at proper spacing by manual means in standing crop condition is technically not feasible and economically unviable, machine sowing would offer a coping mechanism to accomplish the situation. Being a challenging task, a “Rice-fallow pulse planter” was designed and developed in such a way that it sow rice fallow pulse at proper spacing of 25x10cm with optimum depths of 3-4cm in line sown standing rice crop fields in wetland rice ecosystem with no or negligible damage. The machine has two large tread M.S wheels each having 1760mm dia with six spokes joining at hub mounted over bearing positioned at center of the wheel. These wheels were mounted on the mid-point of 2250cm shaft leaving 50cm distance between each wheel and 75cm on right and left side beyond each corresponding wheels. These designs were made considering the average height of the standing rice crop which is normally three feet from ground level above which the center axle position coincides so as to move freely without obstruction by the standing crop. Likewise, the position of large tread wheels fixed at narrow distance between each as to reduce the angle of coverage that could save the crop from damage while the machine takes turn reaching tail end of field /near bunds. The machine has a steel made cell type seed metering mechanism with 15 cells on the periphery of each solid wheel totaling 9 Nos. accommodated @ 3Nos. in each seed hopper numbering 3 which are mounted on the center axle. Shoe type furrow openers 9 Nos. provided at a spacing of 25cm between each. A single wheel driven unit powered by a 4.0 HP diesel engine is attached for operation of the machine by an operator provided with seat. As observed on the performance results of the Rice- fallow pulse planter, the cost of operation was 76% higher in manual random dibbling method of sowing over sowing by Rice-fallow pulse planter. Whereas, it was Rs 1250/- higher in Sowing by Rice-fallow pulse planter when compared to conventional practice of Broadcasting method of sowing.The results of the field crop experiment revealed that the crop sown with Rice-fallow pulse planter significantly increased the growth parameters viz., germination (93.66 %) crop stand (32.37 Nos. m-2) besides registering the grain yield to the tune of 839 kg ha-1 which was 20.72 and 55.66% higher than rill placement and broadcasting respectively.
Keywords- Line sown rice, Rice-fallow pulse planter, Standing rice crop condition, Wetland rice ecosystem