It is so humbling how mechanization has taken over the field of agriculture and more than ever during tough times like these. The modern day farmer is now very tactical within the way he/she maximizes the time spent on a farm visa-viz productivity levels. Agriculture has become personal. Back then, it was never that easy to expedite farming projects because of limitations in the labor force. Much as, we know that human labor or even employing the use of oxen ploughs could survive a season; it is not so fulfilling to a farmer who wants to quickly prepare their gardens for planting. Presently, it is a matter of urgency for all individual farmers groups and corporations to invest in mechanizing for their farms.
When you assess the span rate at which the gardens are prepared is limiting for actual planting needed. The good news is; after the realization of the magic that using a mechanical or pneumatic planter offers to the indigenous and commercial farmer, the green lights of diversification. Planting equipment varies and depends on the kind of seeds and fertilizer to be used. For rice farmers/sorghum, the kind of equipment they use is different from what a farmer growing maize or beans or soya beans may use.
So then, what is a mechanical planter and how does it work? It is a farm implement, usually towed behind a tractor that sows (plants) seeds in rows throughout a field. It is connected to the tractor with a drawbar or a three-point hitch. Planters lay the seeds down in precise manner along rows.
If one is doing rice; a seed drill/seeder is required. The seeder can start applying from as low as 12 rows per planting with a tractor which has between 40-45 horse power ratings. Similarly; for an 18 row planter, one needs a tractor with at least 60-70 Horse power ratings. Any tractor below such rating may seem weak to tow the implement.
The most common type of Seed Drill is the Agromaster BM Single Disc Seed Drill with covering harrows, fertiliser box and hydraulic lift to discs with seed cut-off when lifted. The drill has large floatation tyres, and is trailing. The ground wheel drive operates from both ends, with one wheel controlling seed and the other fertiliser. Available models are: 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 & 28 row machines.
If you are planting Maize or Beans (big cereals) the options are ernomous beginning from 2 Row Planters depending on the tractor horse power one has. Many farmers have often embraced planters that can apply between two and 4 rows with a fertilizer application component to save planting time. Most types of planters within this category are in two brands such as; Baldan & Agromaster and offered depending on what the customer wants. Planters depending on the rows of coverage require tractors with a horse power rating between 35-100 according to the most commonly available stock in the country says, Kayiwa Lawrence, Sales supervisor, Engineering Solutions Uganda Limited.
The benefits of using a planter as opposed to using human labour are enormous evident and include; saving time and money; better yields, having very organised farms, less tedious, easy to manage harvesting & most importantly, better field/space management.
Lastly, we cannot ignore mechanising because as the world of agriculture evolves, our focus as farmers should be more inclined to advancing in our farming practices.