22 November 1996

Toward better style cloves

EXISTING onion set and garlic planters are not sufficiently accurate, maintains Andrew Deptford of Lincs-based AAD Hire.

"Most machines tend to scatter the sets along the row and there is a degree of bunching which causes uneven size and shape at harvest," he says.

Mr Deptford believes he has found the solution in an Italian-built pneumatic precision garlic planter which works on much the same principle as a maize drill.

Sucks the sets

A pto powered fan sucks the sets on to holes in a rotating disc before dropping them at regular intervals in the row. Spacings between 6cm and 15cm (2in and 6in) can be selected.

For UK conditions, Mr Deptford has specified a five-row machine spaced at 27cm (11in) with a single 750kg capacity seed hopper. The hopper is to be mounted on a frame to allow the planting units to float in the rows.

An interesting feature of the planter is an ability to increase the seed rate of the outer two rows – planting sets closer together. This overcomes the tendency for outer rows to produce larger onions than the inner three, with the result that harvested crop sample is more even overall. Mr Deptford believes the price of the planter in UK spec will be in the region of £14,500.

He intends to import about four machines which will be available for hire at a price of between £86.49 and £96.40/ha (£35 and £40/acre).

Precision onion set and garlic planter in its Italian format – the UK build will have a central seed hopper. Inset: The suction disc exposed.