Publisher : Korean Society for Agricultural Machinery
In order to ensure that vegetable seedlings (with a soil block around their roots) are planted in an upright orientation after metering in a vegetable transplanter, they need to be dropped freely from a certain height. The walk-behind hand-tractor-powered machines do not have sufficient space to drop the seedlings from that height. In the present work, a hopper-type planting device was developed for the walk-behind hand-tractor-powered vegetable transplanter to ensure that the soil block seedlings are planted in an upright orientation. Methods: Various dimensionless terms were developed based on the dimensional analysis approach, and their effect on the planting of soil block seedlings in an upright orientation (planting efficiency) was studied. The optimum design dimensions of the hopper-type planting device were identified by the Taguchi method of optimization. Results: The ratio of the height of free fall to the sliding distance of the seedling on the surface of the hopper had the highest influence on planting efficiency. The planting efficiency was highest for plants with a height . The plant handling Froude number, in interaction with the design of the hopper-type planting device, also significantly affected the planting efficiency. Of the hopper design factors, the length of the slide of the seedlings on the surface of the hopper was most important, and induced sufficient velocity and rotation to cause the seedling to fall in an upright orientation. An evaluation of the performance of the planting device under actual field conditions revealed that the planting efficiency of the developed planting device was more than 97.5%. Conclusions: As the seedlings were fed to the metering device manually, an increase in planting rate increased missed plantings. The planting device can be adopted for any vegetable transplanter in which the seedlings are allowed to drop freely from the metering device.