A NEW SMALL POTATO PLANTER FOR EGYPTIAN AGRICULTURE
AbstractReducing the tuber period for potato plants by planting previously grown sprouts is a new technique. Applying this new agricultural methodology requires modification of the potato planter. The theoretical analysis was carried out to obtain information that can help avoid tuber damage during feeding and until it exits the feeding system. Starting from these considerations, a new potato planter with a spoon-based feeding system was designed and built. The tests conducted verified that the new system performed well when dividing tuber pieces into rows: considering the best growth spacing for potatoes is 20Ã·30 cm, the new system has a 68% distribution versus the 50,62 % of the old one. The tubersâ€™ spacing in rows are evaluated based on tuber voids and tuber doubles. The results show that there is no difference between the two systemsâ€™ configurations, while a general consideration about our machine is that it is better at managing small tuber pieces. The void ratios are largely valid within the range of 0.4 up to 0.8 m/s of planted speeds; moreover, the results revealed that the tuber doubles decrease by increasing planting speed and vice versa with tuber voids. The quality of the potatoes planted is evaluated using the Shatter Index (SI %), which shows how the new configuration is more delicate with the tuber pieces (1.5 % against 17.5 % at 10 rpm or 46 % against 94 % at rpm 20). The new configuration could be an interesting improvement for potato quality and Egyptian potato production.
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