Document Type : Technical Note
Department of Agricultural and Food Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Kharagpur, West Bengal, P. O. Box: 721302, India.
A solar energy operated two-row weeder was developed for weeding in wetland paddy crop. Its major components are power source, power transmission system, weeding wheels, and a float. The power source comprised a DC motor, solar panel, and power storage unit with maximum power point tracker and motor controller. Solar panel/power storage unit through a motor controller supplied power to the DC motor and it was transmitted to the shaft of the weeding wheel through a dog clutch. A pair of wheels attached with jaw tooth and plane blades at wheel circumference was used for carrying out weeding and movement of the weeder in the field. A float was used to prevent sinkage of the weeder in soft soil which, in turn, ensured stability during operation. The developed weeder could do weeding at a rate of 0.06 ha per hour with field efficiency, weeding efficiency, and plant damage of 83.3 %, 83 % and 2-3 %, respectively. As compared to cono-weeder, the cost of weeding was 41.2 % lower due to higher field capacity and fewer labor requirements. Annual use less than 4.13 ha for the developed weeder was found uneconomical for carrying out weeding. The developed powering system comprising solar photovoltaic panels could supply power to do weeding continuously for 2 hours with a maximum discharge of 20 % from the battery.
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