Rice transpanters and harvesters are becoming the norm as labor becomes a big problem during harvesting and planting time because there is a shortage of workers in the farm.
As of now, however, only machines from Japan, Korea are being available in the market. These machines are a big boon to rice farmers because they are fast in doing the job. And they are particularly needed when there are emergencies. For instance, if there is an impending typhoon when the rice grains are ripening, they can be harvested before the weather disturbance arrives.
The imported machines are expensive and not all farmers may be able to afford them. That could be one reason why local engineers and scientists have been working to develop their own models. And the results of their efforts are showcased at the National Science and Technology Week (July 25-29, 2016) at the DOST headquarters in Bicutan, Taguig City.
Engineers of DOST’s Metals Industry Research and Development Center have come up with their own models of a rice transplanter and a combine harvester. These can be attached to the commonly used hand tractors although other designs are being developed.
This transplanter was initially tested in Regions 3 and 4-A and showed an 80 percent efficiency rate, which means that it meets the Philippine Agricultural Engineering Standards. It can plant rice seedlings on two hectares per day which is twice the area that 20 persons can transplant in one day.
On the other hand, the combine harvester can reap rice on half a hectare in one day. Field trials show that the harvester’s efficiency is comparable to that of its commercial counterparts. The difference is that it costs much less than the imported kind. It costs only about P150,000 whereas the imported machines cost from P270,000 to P350,000. The harvester can also perform other functions such as threshing and bagging.
The transplanter is much cheaper than the imported brands as it costs only about P100,000 compared to P200,000 to P250,000 of its imported counterparts.