The hand fed planter is able to plant maize (corn) and pulses (beans), as well as other seeds and a precise amount of fertiliser as a nutrient for each seed through a surface mulch under a range of soil conditions.
The design of the tool uses body weight to operate a foot pedal in order to supply the energy used to create two slots 50mm apart through the surface layer in a gradual manner combined with a forward/backward rocking motion. The shape of the spear makes gradual penetration easier while the sides compact the soil and so conserve its integrity.
A single seed is dropped by hand into the slot through one funnel while a precise amount of fertiliser is dropped into the other funnel. The seed and nutrients are covered by flicking soil down the slots using the tips of the spears. The arrangement of the seed is intended to give each its own space to ensure minimum competition for light and soil moisture. The spacing for maize and beans should give the optimum plant population for the agro-climatic conditions for that area. This information should be available from local agricultural extension officers, which is the results of experimental work carried out in that area by research stations. The amount and type of fertiliser to be applied for each seed will depend on the results of soil testing, if it has been carried out, or advice from the extension officer.
Crop yields are diminishing in Sub Saharan Africa due to excessive cultivation, reduced organic content of soil and desertification. When combined with crop rotation, Conservation Agriculture techniques are proven to reverse these trends by minimizing soil disturbance and maintaining an organic surface layer.
Planting seeds and fertilizer through this organic surface layer is a challenge among small-scale farmers. The hand/foot planter was designed to help women farmers overcome this challenge. Among other benefits, the planter:
Enables farmers to practice Conservation Agriculture
Increases crop production (especially for maize) at affordable costs and with less energy required
Creates rural employment opportunities
Publicly available: yes
Countries where available: Worldwide
Price range (USD): 20 to 30 USD
Offered or can be licensed for local manufacture: Yes
Cost of the Barney Planter
This will depend mainly on raw materials cost which make up about 60-70% of the total cost. A spreadsheet is given in the appendix to help in calculating most of the costs. The selling price falls in the range of 20-30 USD.
If you are aware of any updates to the Manual Precision Seed Planter project please complete the form or send an email to [email protected]