Faba bean: new seeder boosts productivity

June 12, 2012 at 7:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The new seeder allows faba bean breeders to test a diverse range of genotypes, while saving time and labor

ICARDA scientists and engineers, working with the private sector in Syria, have developed new technologies for faba bean mechanization. In 2010, the team developed the first mechanized seeder suitable for research plots. A second model is being trialed this season, designed to plant single rows of material of single-seed descent. It can simultaneously plant three single-row plots. These tractor-mounted devices can be easily adjusted to accommodate a range of seed sizes (which, in experimental genotypes, can vary by a factor of ten), planting depths and row spacings. Another unique feature is their pointed tines, allowing seeds to be precision-planted into standing stubble for zero-tillage (conservation agriculture) experiments. The first experiments, integrating faba bean into conservation agriculture systems, began this season.

Before 2010, ICARDA’s faba bean trials were all hand-planted. This season, 70% of trials were mechanically planted, slashing time and labor requirements, and allowing breeders to substantially increase the size of research plots and the number and diversity of genotypes tested. The faba bean program has quadrupled the size of experimental plots without increasing labor requirements.

For more information contact Dr Fouad Maalouf, faba bean breeder, email F.Maalouf@cgiar.org

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