The seed drill can be used for sowing even 100gms of seed
“When small farmers with minimal physical resources or financial assets attempt to improve productivity, they have a limited choice. The only resource they can maximise is knowledge in which they are not poor. Sustainability is generally inherent in small farmers’ innovations.
“The Government of India spends billions through its various ministries for agriculture and rural development activities. However, are we even aware as to what portion of it is spent on promoting innovations that reduce costs, improve productivity, and generate sustainable alternatives?" asks Professor Anil Gupta, Vice Chairman, National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad.
Mr. Gopal Dave in Rajasthan runs a workshop for repairing agricultural machinery. He also worked as an agricultural labourer and this made him realise the need for a machine to sow multiple seeds, simultaneously.
“Farming work is arduous and physically straining. But in our country still a major part of the farming operations are done manually when compared to foreign countries, which rely on machines.
“Though we do get much information from some authentic sources that some machines are available on hire for certain practices, the irony is, we do not get them on time and the rules are complicated. With limited financial resources small farmers like me cannot think of investing in them as prolonged drought or floods will create more problems,” laments Mr. Dave.
“I dreamt of developing a simple and cheap machine which can be used for multiple sowing and reduces unnecessary dependence on constly machines or manpower.
It is a seed drill with a single metering mechanism, irrespective of the number of rows to be sown, and for range of seed sizes,” he says.
The seed drill consists of a hopper, seed metering mechanism, ground wheel, power transmission system and seed distributor. The seed metering mechanism is similar to an inverted conical auger housed in a bush fitted in the opening (at bottom) of the hopper. The annular space between auger and bush can be adjusted manually according to the desired seed rate and size.
The seeds passing through the gap are distributed evenly by a distributor unit to all the feed pipes (eight or nine). The device can be used for sowing single kind of seed (general practice) as well as for mix cropping.
“The seed drill can be used for sowing even 100gms of seed.,” says the farmer.
Provision for marking
Provision for marking and adjusting the position of auger according to the seed, and also rate desired is provided. In addition, the seed rate can be adjusted from 3 kg/acre for small size seeds to 60 kg/acre for grain or similar crops. Eight distributors (it can be nine for standard cultivator), for distributing seeds evenly in all the furrow openers through seed pipes and a movable lever for disconnecting power from ground wheel to the seed metering mechanism, are also provided.
Hopper capacity of seed drill varies according to customers demand from 20 kg to 80 kg. Due to single point of seed metering and concentrated shape of hopper, very low quantity of seed can also be sown. There is a view glass in the hopper to enable the user to know quantity of seed inside the hopper.
Minimal seed loss
“Due to use of single metering mechanism and concentrated hopper, cost has come down; and the seed drill can be used with very low quantity of seeds. No seed loss (in terms of remaining in the hopper after sowing) occurs,” explains Mr. Gopal.
Price of the machine varies from Rs. 10,000- Rs.12,000 and the farmer has already sold more than 100 machines. He says farmers buy it because it eliminates the drudgery of sitting over the cultivator/seed drill and putting seeds in seed tubes continuously.
The National Innovation Foundation in Ahmedabad has extended financial support and guidance to patent the machine and the State Government gives 25 per cent subsidy.
Mr. Gopal Dave can be reached at Salawas Tehsil village, Luni Dist. Jodhpur, Rajasthan, mobiles: 09460249145, 09314442804, phone: 0291-2696517.