3 In 1 Disc Ridger: Development of An Improved Implement For Sweet Potato Plant-Bed Making, Fertilizing and Mechanical Weeding
Mechanization has been the solution to counter issue such as labor shortage and low production rate on field in the agricultural sector. Adaptation of mechanization system could lower the cost of production, improve quality and also reduce the tedious work of labor. Current practice, which contributes to high cost in labor since the job requires a lot of man power. MARDI has developed a complete machinery package for sweet potato production from land preparation until harvesting. One of the important activities that require an implementation of machinery aspect is ridge forming. This activity is essential due to the height of the ridge influences the yield. It is believed that the higher the ridge will contribute, to more aeration and thus, produce higher yields. In this manuscript, the authors report on the development and evaluation of the disc ridger. It is believed that this implement is capable to be used as ridge forming as well as inter-row cultivator. This tractor-mounted implement was designed with two units of high quality steel discs which is attached to the frame with disc diameter and thickness of 720 mm and 6 mm respectively. This disc ridger is able to form either a single row or double row planting ridges to suit with the desired planting system for sweet potato. This is due to the location of the discs at the frame which is adjustable. Furthermore, this implement also can be employed as an inter-row cultivator for weeding control of sweet potato planting in the early stages. In addition, this implement also equipped with granular based fertilizer applicator in which 2 application can be performed together which are weeding and fertilizing. The recorded field capacity of this machine is 0.29 ha/hr for bed forming and 0.28 ha/hr for inter-row weeding and fertilizing. In terms of fertilizer application performance, the average amount of fertilizer to be withdrawn for 50m bed is 1.53kg or 7.65g/plant, which is complied to the agronomist recommendation.
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