Replanting patches where seed has not taken is a task that no maize farmer looks forward to. Nobody really plans for this, says Michris Janse van Rensburg. His maize planter was worth its weight in gold during the 2009-2010 season and has since led to a number of other small planter designs.
He says from experience he knows that there are always spots where the plant quality is not so good and it could be due to a number of reasons. He had a need for a hand-operated model that could be used as one walked down the rows to plant pips, but didn’t require the operator to bend down and plant the seeds by hand and pip by pip.
Michris struggled with the design for a while, until one of his neighbours helped him to come up with a concept that was infallible. The planter is designed in such a way that the operator can plant pips one by one without actually touching them. The best feature of the planter is that in wet earth, it easily plants the pips at the same depth. The planter saves the operator’s back, meaning one can work much longer and more efficiently.
Michris recommends that seed farmers use one planter for each 100 ha of maize. Although the mechanics behind the planter is quite simple, the detail of the design could easily confuse someone inexperienced trying to build their own version. Each part needs to be in exactly the correct place.