• New DOST machines can boost rice farm efficiency

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    TWO new machines for rice farming unveiled last week could boost productivity for Philippine farmers at a significantly lower cost, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said.

    The first is a transplanter designed as an attachment for a common two-wheeled hand tractor, which can sow rice seedlings at a rate of two hectares per day. According to the DOST, which developed both machines, the transplanter doubles the effort of 20 farmers, who can typically sow one hectare per day.

    The DOST said it is developing different versions of the transplanter, including a possible self-propelled version.

    The transplanter’s initial testing in Regions 3 and 4-A showed an 80 percent efficiency rate, which means that it meets the requirements of the Philippine Agricultural Engineering Standards, according to the DOST.

    Meanwhile, the combine harvester can harvest rice at a half-hectare per day pace, which includes the threshing and sacking functions built into the machine. The DOST said that its design performed on par with commercially available models at a lower cost.

    Indicated cost for the transplanter is about P100,000, while the harvester costs about P150,000, about half the cost of comparable commercial models of either machine, the DOST said.

    The harvester and transplanter cost around P150,000 and P100,000 respectively while those in the market now cost around P200,000 to P250,000 for a transplanter and P270,000 to P350,000 for the harvester.

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