Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Uttara Kannada - Mechanized Paddy Transplanting technology

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Encourages farmers to use mechanized paddy transplanting technology for more yield
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“Less farming input cost and higher productivity are the two main advantages of using mechanized paddy transplanting technique. It is the solution of many problems faced by the farmers when growing paddy. Saves on time, needs only three people for transplanting the seedlings, precise planting therefore the yield is high,” says Dr. Manjappa K, Senior Scientist and Head, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Uttara Kannada.

Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Uttara Kannada, a district level resource and knowledge centre was established in 2004 by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi. It is located at Sirsi, Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka. Organization popularizes different modern technologies among the farming community by conducting trainings, campaigns, exhibitions, ghostis, seminars, melas etc. One such technology promoted is Mechanized Paddy Transplanting.

KVK introduced mechanized paddy transplanting in the state in its first year of commencement. “Back then we observed farmers were facing labour problems hence we started creating awareness on mechanized way to transplant the paddy seedlings,” shares Dr. Manjappa. “Initially we started giving demo in our research farm as well as on selected farmer’s field so that farmers could see the benefits on the field”.

Mechanized Paddy Transplanting technology begins with land preparation, raising the seedlings and planting the seedlings with a transplantor.

Land Preparation

First and foremost the land needs to be ploughed before transplanting the seedlings.

Raising the seedlings

Paddy seedlings are raised through ‘Mat’ method. Traditionally to develop seedlings for 1 acre, 3 guntas (300 sq .mt) land area is required but with mat method only 30 sq mt space is needed that is 1/10th of the space required in normal method. Mat method is also referred as Dapog method. It is of two types:

Dry Method- It is suitable for hard surface like concrete ground. “Farmers can use backyard of their house to develop the seedlings. They would need 50 micron plastic sheet. On the plastic sheet, a frame is kept to add sieved dry soil and cattle manure or vermicompost which are mixed in equal proportions. It is mandatory to sieve the soil and manure because there should not be any stones else it will create problems in transplanting machine. Next it is levelled uniformly in the frame and water is added to make it wet thoroughly, explains Dr. Manjappa.

On the wet mixture, sprouted paddy seeds are spread evenly that is in one grain thickness. The frame is removed and bed is covered with paddy straw or dry grass for 2 days till small green leaves protrude out. Paddy straw/grass protects the seeds from birds, sunlight and evaporation. In case there is no rain, then the bed is watered 3 times a day. Third day the paddy straw/grass is removed. After removing the paddy straw/grass there is a need to water the beds again at least three times a day if there is no rains. Post 15 days the seedlings will be 4-6 inches long, ready for transplanting. This mat bed then directly is fed into the paddy transplantor for transplanting the seedlings on the farmland.

Wet Method: If farmer does not have the hard ground/surface then he can develop the seedlings in the farmland itself. The process remains same as above but instead of dry soil, the wet soil of the field is used. “After the seedlings are 2 inches long we can stack water in the paddy field,” he adds.

When asked preferred method, Dr. Manjappa clarifies, “It depends on the facility that is available. Yet dry method is best as seedlings can be developed anywhere even at backyard of house. In wet method, farmer needs to wait to vacant the space where he has prepared the wet mat bed earlier.”

In both the methods it is compulsory that paddy seeds are sprouted before it is spread on mat. To do so soak paddy seeds for 24 hours in water. “Add carbondizim in the water to overcome seed borne diseases. 1 kg paddy seeds require 2 g of carbondizim. After one day, remove the water and put the seeds in a gunny bag in a dry place for 36 hours. It will sprout and then will be apt for spreading on the mat bed,” he says.

Before transplanting, the roots of the seedlings are treated with a biofertilizer viz., Azospirillum slurry (nitrogen fixing bacteria). One kg of Azospirillum is mixed with 50-60 litres of water and used for dipping the seedling mats required for one acre. The mats should be dipped for 20-30 minutes.

Paddy Transplantor

Paddy Transplantor is power operated device that transplants the seedlings either in 4 or 8 lines. “We can put one bed of 23 cms wide and 50 cms long in one lane of 8 row transplantor and 30 cm wide and 50 cm long mat in 4 row transplantor. It will transplant 3-4 seedlings in one pit. Machine pulls out 3-4 seedlings,” highlights Dr, Manjappa. One person rides the machine while 2 people on either side feed the machine with seedlings. So in total 3 labours are needed for transplanting the saplings. In just 3-4 hours seedlings can be transplanted in one acre.

Farmers when unable to transplant paddy seedlings on time it leads to decrease in yield and ultimately loss in earnings. The transplantor helps largely to sow the paddy seedlings with precision on time effectively and efficiently. “In traditional method the labour cost incurred is Rs. 4-5 thousand per acre whereas using mechanization cultivation process it reduces approximately to Rs. 1.5 -2 thousand per acre. Traditionally seeds required are 30 kgs per acre while using modernized technology driven method only 18-20kgs seeds are sufficient for an acre. Lastly the yield is 10-15% more when transplanting is done through the mechanized machine over manual process,” elaborates Dr. Manjappa on cost-benefit ratio of using paddy transplantor.

The machine costs Rs. 2-2.5 lakhs. Government provides subsidy the paddy transplantor. In addition custom hiring centres established with the support of Governement of Karnataka by Dharmastala Graminabiruddhi Samsthe offers the paddy transplantor on rental basis. “Small and marginal farmers might find it difficult to investment so much money on machine purchase so they can to rent it from these centers,” he informs. “Government plans to open more centres that would buy these mechanized paddy transplanting machines and lend it to the farmers at low cost.” Rental charges are Rs. 400/hour.

“The entire mechanized paddy transplanting process should be done step by step therefore it is better farmers undergo minimum one training session,” asserts Dr. Manjappa. Regular training sessions are conducted by KVK. “These are free training programs where farmers are taught in detail on preparing seedlings, seed treatment, land preparation using the transplantor.”

Stating the challenges he says, “There is much awareness created on the mechanized paddy transplanting technique but farmers are still hesitant to come forward to use it!”

Sharing the future plans he concludes, “We want to give more demos and trainings to make farmers use the technology in best possible way. Farmers hesitate to use the technology because of wrong assumptions. We want to conduct programs to eliminate these obstructions. We want the farmers to work smart, use the available technology and have better returns.”

Dr. Manjappa K after completing PhD in Agronomy worked in Agricultural Research Station (Paddy) for 15-18 years as scientist and concentrated his major work on various agronomic aspects of paddy cultivation. Since 2015, he heads Krishi Vigyana Kendra, Uttar Kannada.

Contact details:
Dr. K. Manjappa,
Senior Scientist and Head,
Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Uttara Kannada
Banavasi Road, Sirsi 581401, Karnataka
Phone: 08384-228411; 9448495345
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