Compared to human labour, using machines is always an easier option for agricultural activities. But the problem arises when farmers are not able to locate or source the right machine on time. Even if they are available their price is either too costly or if on hire, one needs to wait to use them.

A fabricator cum mechanic, Mr. Gurmail Singh Dhonsi from Rajasthan, has developed two agricultural machineries which he claims are easy to use and light on the pocket.

The first machine is a tree pruner that can be mounted on a tractor. The machine can be used for orchard owners like mango growers who need to prune their trees every year.

Another machine which he has devised is called compost aerator. “I got the idea to develop this machine by closely observing the earthworms that keep turning the soil,” says Mr. Gurmail Singh. “The aerator is also tractor- mountable and consists of a rotating shaft on which several steel blades are fitted to mix the bio wastes thoroughly.”

The machine can be attached to any make and model of tractor of size 50 hp or above. The rotor, which is 16 inches in diameter, is nine feet long.

“The nine-inch blades break and chop the bio wastes into very small particles. A hydraulic jack is provided to facilitate the up and down movement of the main rotor. There is provision for attaching a 1,500 litre capacity water tank to the tractor. This water is used to moisten the compost while the rotor blades turn the heap of biowastes. A weight box has been provided next to the water tank to maintain balance during movement,” explains Mr. Gurmail Singh.

While the rotor rotates and the blades cut the biowaste, water is automatically added to the mixture from the tank to moisten it. The tractor is slowly made to run from one end of the heap to the other.

“This operation needs to be repeated four to five times for five days during summer and seven days during winter. As a result the total time for converting biomass into manure reduces to 25-40 days, as against 120-150 days using manual methods. For the operation the machine consumes 3.5-4.0 litre of diesel per hour,” he says.

According to Dr. Nitin Maurya, National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad, the technologies for thoroughly mixing compost for rapid composting are available in many foreign countries although no such domestic product is available. Moreover, the provision of providing moisture while turning biomass is rare and accordingly NIF has filed a patent for this machine in the name of Mr. Gurmail Singh.

The compost made by the aerator has been tested by soil testing laboratory at the Agriculture Research Station (ARS) Durgapura, Jaipur. The percentages of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potash (K) were found to be 1.87, 1.79, 2.26 respectively as compared to 0.4-1.5, 0.3-0.9, 0.3-1.9 per cent in the conventional farm yard manure. This compost was found to be even better than vermicompost. Similar results have also been reported by a private fertilizer company which studied the aerated compost.

A few buyers have mentioned that the aerator has provided them the option to add sugarcane waste, which was not possible in the traditional method.

Priced over Rs. 3,00,000 Mr. Gurmail Singh who developed the machine was supported under the micro venture innovation fund scheme of NIF. He has sold about 25-30 pieces in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana. Of these, five machines have been sold after the institute mobilized the support.

For more information interested readers can contact Mr. Gurmail Singh Dhonshi, Dhoshi Mechanizations, Padampur Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan: 335041, Mobile: 09414631570.