Weed control is one of the most expensive operations in India crop production. Majority of Indian farmers uses hand-hoe for weeding which requires 40-60 manual labourers for one hectare. With a mini power tiller, in a day about one hectare of land can be weeded by an operator and two labourers for weeding in between plants.
The engine operated mini power-tiller has been developed for weeding and interculture in between rows of crops such as Coconut, Banana, Maize, Tapioca, Cotton, Pulses, Sugarcane, Sorghum, Mango and Grape. Three types of weeding tools viz., sweep blade, junior hoe and rotary blades have been developed as attachments to the mini power-tiller.
The sweep blade is suitable for weeding and interculture in row crops such as maize, cotton, pulses, sorghum and tapioca. The width of weeding can be altered by fitting blades of 250 or 300 or 350 mm width, junior hoe attachment having provisions to change the width of operation can be used in place of sweep blade. Rotary blades of 350 mm width can also be fitted to the mini power-tiller. Depth of weeding is adjustable in all the three types of weeding tools. It has spark-ignition type petrol-start kerosene run engine. Thereby reducing the vibration and can be used for longer duration as compared to a diesel fed tillers. It has two 300 mm diameter ground wheels.
A depth adjustment wheel is provided at the back of the weeding tools to regulate the depth of operation. Distance between the ground wheels is adjustable depending on the row-row spacing of the crop. Since the machine is light in weight (around 70 kg) it can be easily turned at fields ends.
It costs around Rs. 35,000. The cost of weeding with this machine comes to Rs.700 to Rs. 900 per hectare as compared to Rs.2000 to Rs. 2500 per hectare for manual weeding. It can also be used with other attachments. Such as single bottom ridger for forming ridges and furrows in garden land to facilitate sowing of seed.