Mechanization Innovations for Conservation Agriculture for Organic Agriculture Towards Increased Land, Labor and Crop Productivity
Project Leader: Engr. Alexis C. Del Rosario
Study Leaders: Dr. Maria Victoria L. Larona, Engr. Jose D. De Ramos; Engr. Jonathan C. Orozco/ Engr. Ronnie C. Valencia; Engr. Victor A. Rodulfo, Jr.; Dr. Ronel S. Pangan
Project Staff: Engr. Ronnie C. Valencia
Brief Background and Rationale
Conservation agriculture (CA) systems is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as the utilization of soils for the production of crops with the aim of reducing excessive mixing of the soil and maintaining crop residues on the soil surface in order to minimize damage to the environment. The practice of CA involves three main principles namely 1) minimum tillage and soil disturbance, 2) permanent soil cover with crop residues and live mulches, and 3) continuous crop rotation and intercropping (www.fao.org).
Among the three principles mentioned, mechanization can be a vital input in addressing the seemingly laborious operations involved in such alternative cropping systems which are vastly different from traditional cropping systems. CA presents a different challenge to machine design especially since both cover crops and the main crops are accounted for. For the cover crops the objective is to keep the field covered with it while at the same time allowing the main crop to grow. For the main crop the objective is to sow the seeds and/or seedlings with a field covered with living mulch. The other challenge is the variety of seed sizes, planting density, hill and row spacing especially for crop rotation purposes.
The open system Ronnie Baugh Tractor (formerly Oggun Tractor) developed by Cleber LLC will be main power train for the development of implements and or machines/equipment applicable for the Conservation Agriculture for Organic Agriculture (CA4OA). The open system tractor will be modified, tested, and adapted for CA4OA applications. Moreover, the specific farm implements, such as vegetable planter, harvesting equipment, hauling and transport equipment for vegetable, and crimping equipment are initially identified as part of the mechanization CA4OA mechanization package.
The modification and adaptation of the open system tractor will pave the way for its potential localization, commercialization, and utilization not only for organic agriculture application but also for traditional/conventional application in the farm for land preparation and other major farm operations. The design, modification, fabrication, and testing of planting machine/equipment, harvesting equipment, hauling and transport equipment for vegetable, and crimping equipment for conservation and organic agriculture production would contribute to the limited R&D mechanization efforts for conservation agriculture for organic agriculture.
Considering the above information and the requirements for the successful introduction of a mechanized CA system in the country, the need for roller/crimping equipment is a well-established and critical need together with the other implements such as planting machine/equipment, harvesting equipment, hauling and transport equipment for vegetable, and for conservation and organic agriculture production. Prior to the modification activities, a mechanization needs assessment will be conducted that would aid in the identification, design, modification of appropriate mechanization technologies for CA4OA.
PHASE I – The general objective of the project is to package appropriate mechanization innovations for conservation and organic agriculture production systems. Specifically, it aims to:
- To assess needs of appropriate mechanization technologies/innovations for various crops (initially for vegetables) conservation and organic agriculture through the conduct of the needs and design assessment (NADA) survey;
- To design and development of suitable mechanization innovations applicable for CA4OA production systems as identified on the NADA. The possible machines/equipment for the technology package are the following:
- Crimping Machine (in collaboration with KSU, USDA-ARS) rolling/crimping equipment for cover crops available in the Philippines
- Planter (in collaboration with KSU, USDA-ARS)
- Hauling, transport, and cold storage equipment
- Ronnie Baugh tractor (formerly known as Oggun tractor) as power train for the machines
- To promote CA4OA mechanization innovations through various modes of extension.
Phase II – This phase shall consist of Pilot Area Development, Commercialization, Patent Application/IPR Concerns, and Policy Advocacy
RB tractor with trailer
Ronnie Baugh w trailer