About - Precision Planter in D'kar (Botswana)
Winter and Spring 2017 - Dkar, Botswana
Alex Wilder, fourth year undergraduate student, Biological Systems Engineering. D-Lab Involvement: Student in Spring 2017 D-Lab II
D-Lab students Stephanie Lew and Alex Wilder received Blum and PIET funding to travel to Dkar in Summer 2016 and execute their project. The current process for plowing and plant propagation is not sustainable and very labor intensive. Additionally, the current plowing device is no longer subsidized in the Dkar community. Thus a prototype precision planter was created to move agricultural practices to align with the Conservation Farming Movement and address these issues. The project addressed challenges such as devising a mechanism to drop off a fixed volume of fertilizer and the further control on this volume based upon the seed to be planted and devising a mechanism to drop a selected quantity and size of seed to be planted. Technical support was required for further development of the prototype. Additionally, the students engaged in discussion and shared ideas with technical community members whom advise around fertilizer and seed dispersal mechanisms.
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