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Rice Transplanter

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Agricultural Equipment
Rice Transplanter
A rice transplanter is a machine specifically designed to aid in transplanting rice seedlings into paddy fields. While rice is grown around the world, rice transplanters are mainly used within East, Southeast, and South Asia.

These machines generally produce larger yields with considerably less time and labor than sowing seedlings by hand.[1]

Contents

[edit] History

The rice transplanter was developed during the 1960s in Japan by the Kubota Corp. These machines proliferated throughout East and South Asia during the 1970s and 1980s.

[edit] New Technology

While rice transplanters operate on a basic process, they have become extremely high-tech machines. Farmers are required to drive the machine along a straight line to transplant the seedlings in rows, but “driving a transplanter on an exact straight line is delicate work even for a skilled operator.”[2]

In the early 2000s, automatic steering systems were developed. However, no practical system had been sold commercially. The image-processing computers were still far too expensive, the software was unable to handle varying weather and light conditions, and momentary, small errors with the machine accumulated to shift the machine further off course.[3]

A conventional elementary steering system had been developed, but it was incapable of detecting curved crop rows. So, the operator was forced to steer manually, thereby negating the system’s purpose.

A new system was developed in 2005 that plotted the position of seedlings on a virtual plane and fit a probable line on it. The prototype system was attached to a Kubota rice transplanter for testing. It was equipped with motor sensors, computers, and two CCD color cameras. The system operated at a processing frequency of 10 hertz, with a maximum working velocity of 3.5 feet per second (1.1 m/s).[4] The cameras captured RGB images and converted them to L*a*b images, which are designed to approximate human vision. The computer software uses that image to extract seedling row location and calculate its angle and displacement. The rice transplanter motor then steers the machine according to the angle, displacement, and working velocity. Experiments showed that the angle of the rows gradually shifted, but the displacement was steady.

[edit] Features/How it Works

Rice transplanters have seedling trays where mat-type nurseries of seedlings are laid. The tray shifts seedlings like a carriage of typewriters as pick-up forks get seedlings from the tray and put into the ground. The pick-up forks act like human fingers by taking the seedlings from the tray and pushing them into the earth.

There are both ride-on and walk-behind models of rice transplanters. The components of the machines may vary depending on manufacturer; however, there are many features that are universal.

[edit] Common Manufacturers

[edit] References

  1. Rice Transplanter Enters Coastal Districts. DaijiWorld.com, 2008-10-09.
  2. Kaizu, Yutaka. Prototype Rice Transplanter Masters the Paddy with Machine Vision. BNET, October, 2005. (accessed: 2008-10-09)
  3. Kaizu, Yutaka. Prototype Rice Transplanter Masters the Paddy with Machine Vision. BNET, October, 2005. (accessed: 2008-10-09)
  4. Kaizu, Yutaka. Prototype Rice Transplanter Masters the Paddy with Machine Vision. BNET, October, 2005. (accessed: 2008-10-09)