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Hand planter for maize (Zea mays L.) in the developing world

Omara, Peter, Aula, Lawrence, Raun, Bill, Taylor, Randy, Koller, Adrian, Lam, Eric, Ringer, Joshua, Mullock, Jeremiah, Dhital, Sulochana, Macnack, Natasha
Journal of plant nutrition 2016 v.39 no.9 pp. 1233-1239
Zea mays, corn, developing countries, hills, no-tillage, planting, planting seed, seeds, soil, urea fertilizers
Third world maize (Zea mays L.) production is characterized by having extremely low yields, attributed in part to the poor planting methods employed. Maize planting in most third world countries involves placing 2–3 seeds per hill, with hills being roughly 30 cm apart. The variability in seeds per hill and distance between hills result in heterogeneous plant stands that are directly responsible for lower yields. Oklahoma State University (OSU) has developed a durable hand planter with a reciprocating internal drum that delivers single maize seeds per strike and that can also be used for mid-season application of urea fertilizer. The hand planter is 1.4 m in length, 5.8 cm in diameter, and weighs 1.9 kg when empty. The seed hopper has the capacity to hold 1 kg of seed and the tip has a sharp pointed shovel which can deliver seed to a planting depth of 5 cm in no-till and tilled soils. The current prototype has been comprehensively tested and evaluated to deliver at least 80% single seeds (singulation), with 0% misses and work well across varying seed sizes (2652–4344 seeds/kg) and different operators. Using the OSU hand planter, third world maize producers with average yields of 2.0 Mg ha ⁻¹ could increase yields by 20%.