One of farmer Rean de Waal’s most useful patents is a device that allows him to simultaneously dispense 4 lines of steel wire and one drip irrigation pipe. This is to rig a vineyard trellis with irrigation pipes, of which there is not much in Zambia, Malawi or Zimbabwe, but it can be used for several other crops like grenadillas, tomatoes and beans
Each of his vineyard rows has two foliage wires, one cordon wire and a wire onto which the dripline is attached. This machine now makes it possible to dispense the wires and irrigation pipe for each new vineyard row in one go.
Rean mounted five reels containing the four rolls of steel wire and the pipe onto a trailer. The ends of the four wires and the pipe are attached to the main pole on one end of the vineyard row. As the tractor pulls the trailer through the row, the wires and the pipe are rolled out. Once the trailer comes to the end of a row, the dripline has already been laid and the wires just need to be tightened and stapled to the poles.
“Wire wastage is minimal because the person rolling out the wires tightens and cuts the wires himself as the machine goes along. The wire lasts longer because the zinc coating around the wire doesn’t get worn off on the ground, as happens when it is uncoiled by hand and dragged along the ground. Furthermore, breakage of the wire is reduced because it doesn’t get twisted, as is so often the case when the wire is uncoiled by hand.”
The machine is efficient and only needs three workers to do the work that previously required 10 people, and cost about KMW17 000 (US$1 700) to make.