Fertilizer Spreader

Small-scale farms dominate rural landscapes across the developing world, accounting for up to 80 percent of food produced in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, while supporting livelihoods of up to 2.5 billion people. Yet these farmers face long-standing barriers to accessing technology, finance, and knowledge. With the heterogeneous nature of the small-scale farms, improving agricultural technologies and introducing effective production services still slow and need more efforts. One of the technologies that require supportive is the fertilizer application which still done manually, leading to a high cost of labor and an uneven fertilizer distribution pattern.

Recently, IRRI started to build a mechanical fertilizer spreading system which is gathering an up-to-date spreading technology with different carriages to enable farmers accessing to fertilizer spreading technology in their small-scale farms. Spreading technology is battery-driven mechanical spreader, which has a spreading disc, slide-dosing device, and electrical components which include derive motor, speed sensor, distribution, and switch box. Spreader can be attached to 2-wheel tractors, 3 and 4-wheels carriages to work in small-scale fields under dry and wet conditions with different carriage wheels.

Spreading action can be easily adjusted using electronic controls located close to the operator. Initial trials were then conducted in the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Cambodia to evaluate the spread pattern using typical locally available fertilizer. The fertilizer spreader used effectively on both Urea (46-0-0) and complete fertilizer (14-14-14) at a spreading width of 5.5 m and undercarriage speed of 1.44 km/h. The distribution uniformity is better with a mechanical spreader than manually broadcasting of fertilizer which improved nitrogen use efficiency with great scope to use the spreader in rice-based cropping patterns.

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