New applicator saves fertilizer
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CTA. 1986. New applicator saves fertilizer. Spore 2. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/44440
A hand-operated machine that buries fertilizer some 5 cm below the surface of rice paddies should enable a farmer to halve his fertilizer costs yet still maintain his yield levels. Spreading fertilizer in the conventional way on paddies is very...
A hand-operated machine that buries fertilizer some 5 cm below the surface of rice paddies should enable a farmer to halve his fertilizer costs yet still maintain his yield levels. Spreading fertilizer in the conventional way on paddies is very wasteful, as only about one-third reaches the crop. Consequently, rice farmers have not made full use of fertilizer to boost their yields In 1982 engineers at the Inter' national Rice Research Institute (IRRI) began a project to develop a machine that would place the fertilizer into the soil and so avoid wastage. Laboratory experiments have shown that once fertilizer is placed in deep furrows these have to be closed quickly otherwise much of the fertilizer will be lost. Other tests have shown that, up to a depth of 10 cm, the deeper the fertilizer is placed the better. But getting it down to that depth is hard work, so the engineers compromised and aimed at a depth of 4 to 5 cm. Many machines were designed and tried but IRRI have selected two or three designs which are suited to different soil conditions. The applicator has a small auger that drills the fertilizer into the soil and then closes up the furrow as it moves forward. The auger itself moves up and down, taking its drive from the wheels. There are single, two and four-row machines that can be easily pushed through the paddy either just before or just after transplanting. Using the applicators it is possible to increase the amount of fertilizer that reaches the crop from 30% to 50 %, and IRRI researchers expect rice farmers to use up to 50% less fertilizer to get the same yields. There are now over 100 machines in operation, 50 in the Philippines and the remainder in other Asian countries. So far the machines have been well received by farmers. The next stage is to get local manufacturers to produce the applicators. For further information write to: International Rice Research Institute P. O Box 933 Manila Philippines