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Machines to help boost your harvest

Saturday August 17 2019

A manual wooden hay baler (left) and a fodder chopper shredder (right) displayed at a recent farmers’ field day in Siaya County

A manual wooden hay baler (left) and a fodder chopper shredder (right) displayed at a recent farmers’ field day in Siaya County. The chopper is used to shred forage such as rice straw, wheat straw, maize stover and maize for ensiling. PHOTOS | ELIZABETH OJINA | NMG 

ELIZABETH OJINA
By ELIZABETH OJINA
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Every farmer needs machines that make work easier, which include chaff-cutters, planters, balers, rippers and tractors.

For the small farmer, the major challenge when it comes to acquiring these machines is usually the cost, which many find prohibitive.

At a recent farmers’ field day in Siaya County, however, exhibitors showcased various machines that make work easier for the small farmer. Seeds of Gold unveils them.

Manual wooden hay baler

The machine was displayed by the Agricultural Technology Development Centre in Siaya County (ATDC). The wooden baler comes in handy for small dairy farmers who make own hay bales from various dry fodder grasses.

The baler has a 30cm length, 40cm width and 71cm height. It has the capacity to compress 8 to 10kg of hay at a time. In an hour, one makes 20 bales.

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Dry grass is put into the machine through an opening at the top. The plunger is then used to compress the hay as more is added, explained Daniel Odiwuor of Siaya ATDC. With the plunger depressed, the bale is tied up tightly.

One then releases the plunger, opens the compartment and removes the bale of hay. It will slip right out if you set up the twine correctly. A manual wooden baler goes for Sh8,000.

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Fodder chopper shredder

For small-scale dairy farmers who chop animal feeds into small pieces, this is the machine to look out for.

The chopper is used to shred forage such as rice straw, wheat straw, maize stover and maize for ensiling.

The machine that goes for Sh40,000 consists of a feeder, chopper and thrower, with a transmission, a clutch and a frame.

It needs little fuel to crush fodder, with a litre of petrol lasting about an hour, said Daniel Odiwour of Siaya ATDC.

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Lime distributor

Lime is essential in lowering acidity of soils and it is a source of calcium and magnesium for plants.

The metallic silo bin (left) and the lime distributor (right) showcased during the event.

The metallic silo bin (left) and the lime distributor (right) showcased during the event. The metallic silo can store up to five 90kg bags for up to 10 years, according to Daniel Odiwour of Siaya ATDC. PHOTOS | ELIZABETH OJINA | NMG

According to Elizaphat Otieno of Rural Energy and Food Security Organisation, one can make the distributor from used jerrycan, gears and trolley, making work easier as most farmers hire three people to apply lime an acre.

A simple lime distributor goes Sh5,000.

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Metallic silo bin

It is a simple metallic cylinder with 2m height. It has two openings, one at the top and an outlet at the bottom. Only dried and treated grain is stored in the silo.

Put in the maize or beans but don’t fill to the brim then light a candle and place it in the silo. It will go off after consuming all the oxygen inside.

Then close the lid tightly. The silo can store up to five 90kg bags for up to 10 years, according to Daniel Odiwour of Siaya ATDC. It goes for Sh8,000.

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Maize/sorghum sheller

This is a portable machine used to separate grains from the cobs. Alternatively, it can be used for threshing sorghum but one has to get a small perforated sieve.

A man (right) demonstrates how the jab planter works, while another (left) explains a point on the sorghum/maize sheller during the farners' field day in Siaya.

A man (right) demonstrates how the jab planter works, while another (left) explains a point on the sorghum/maize sheller during the farners' field day in Siaya. The sheller is petrol powered and a litre of the fuel can last for an hour. PHOTOS | ELIZABETH OJINA | NMG

The motorised machine shells 15 bags of maize in an hour. Likewise, it can separate 10 bags of sorghum in the same period.

The machine is petrol powered and a litre of the fuel can last for an hour. It goes for Sh65,000, said Daniel Odiwour of Siaya ATDC.

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Jab planter

This hand-driven tool was displayed by the Rural Energy and Food Security Organisation, an NGO, and is made from wood and metal.

The machine does three roles at once – it digs holes, applies fertiliser and plants with precision as the seeds are released one at a time, according to Michael Otieno.

All the farmer has to do is get the seed spacing right. To use it, push the jab planter into the soil where you want to plant the seed, open the handle to let the seed and fertiliser out and then move to the next hole.

The machine, which goes for Sh5,000, can be used to plant beans, peas and maize seeds.