The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) is a non-profit organization established by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) in 1966.
The "new normal" conditions in Southeast Asia compels SEARCA and all of its key partners to initiate anew a paradigm shift towards accelerating transformation through agricultural innovation (ATTAIN).
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There are two general methods used in planting rice, namely direct seeding and transplanting. Transplanting or the planting of rice seedlings raised in nursery is the most practiced method of rice crop establishment in the Philippines. Transplanting method involves preparing the seedbed, growing in nursery, uprooting the seedlings, hauling, and transplanting. The challenges that the farmers who practice transplanting face are labor shortage during peak period, increase in labor charges, small and divided land holdings, and cost of transplanting machinery, among others.
On the other hand, direct seeding, either by broadcasting or via drum seeder, is another method employed by both lowland and upland farmers. Broadcasting is the random scattering of paddy to the field, either manually or using broadcaster. Studies show that this method utilizes higher input seeds per area than other methods. Meanwhile, the use of drum seeders is a mechanized method of direct seeding. It is a manually drawn planting equipment used to directly sow seeds at predefined row and hill spacing. Unlike broadcasting, the use of drum seeder enables the farmer to plant seeds in rows like in transplanting. The amount of time and effort saved in the use of drum seeder has gained the interest of farmers; however, only few can afford the seeders sold in the market. The seeders available today are made up of plastic drums and metal frame, while some are purely metal—use of predominantly metallic materials made the seeders expensive and heavy.
A study to develop a cheaper and lightweight paddy drum seeder made from locally available materials with performance comparable to that of commercially available drum seeders was conducted at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Laguna, Philippines.