This is a bridge-type landplane, which is used to maintain a very flat--but well-drained--field for rice production. The wheelbase of the landplane is 80' in length, which allows the blades to detect minute highs and lows in the field and correct these as it is being pulled across the field. The landplane is about 20' wide and the rear wheels are steered by a cable system mimicking the track made by the front wheels. As might be imagined, moving this landplane from field to field requires good operator judgement and field/road design.
This is a float-type landplane, which also has three angled blades that level the soil surface. While it does perform some landplaning services, a major function is the preparation of a desireable seedbed that is level, free of clods, firm, and retains moisture in the seed planting zone. Collectively, these conditons provide the best assurance of a complete stand of healthy rice seedlings.
These photos were taken in May 2006 during the field trials of the John Deere 9200 4WD tractor purchased and reconditioned for use in Guinea. A float-type landplane will be used on the Amerigui Plantation project, although the shipment of this huge implement presents many logistical challenges.
This is a photo of dry rice seed being augered into the no-till drill for planting into the soil. Row spacing for rice drills is about 6"-7" in width. No-till drills may be used in a variety of seedbed conditions and have become standard equipment on most Arkansas rice farms. This equipment technology has evolved primarily in the past ten years or so, and will also be used in Guinea. Arkansas farmers generally choose from among about ten varieties from which to plant each season, each offering its own promise of solutions to agronomic challenges, market demand, and profit potential.
A closer view of the 30' wide John Deere 750 no-till drill. Its use in the well-prepared conventional seedbed pictured above is testament to the versatility of this planting tool.
This clean, vibrant stand of rice is about four weeks old and is ready for final herbicide treatments, application of 50-60% of the season's nitrogen (generally in the form of urea), and flooding of the paddys.
Photo of typical truck and trailer used to deliver rice to drying and storage tanks.