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Seed Dibbler

May 2016

Problem Statement

In agriculture, precision seeding is a method that involves placing seed at a precise spacing and depth. This is in contrast to broadcast seeding, where seed is scattered over an area. Although precise hand placement would qualify, precision seeding usually refers to a mechanical process. A wide range of hand-push and powered precision seeders are available for small- to large-scale jobs. Using a variety of actions, they all open the soil, place the seed, then cover it, to create rows. The depth and spacing vary depending on the type of crop and the desired plant density. However there are few farmers who still perform precision seeding manually. These are the farmers who cannot afford to buy tractors. Thus in order to overcome this problem, a manual seed dribbler has to be designed, which saves seeds and avoids crowding. The objective is to design an efficient seed dribbler overcoming the problems in the previous version of it.


Field Visit

The team started from Ahmedabad to Gram Bharati for the visit.

Field visit 1 Location: Alwa

Location: Amarapur

Location: NIF Field

The team went to Aluva where they met farmers Vipul Deshai and Bharat Deshai. The farmers said they don’t use seed dribbler.They sow seeds manually which results in many health issues like shoulder ache and pain in hands They have 4-5 labourers who sow 3-4 hectres each day. They sow 1 packet of 450 grams to complete a row. They practice cotton and divala farming. The soil is sticky.

Cotton seed: depth is finger deep, distance 1 foot

Divala: depth 1 finger, distance 4 feet.

Trying out the previous prototype the farmers said it was heavy and maintaining seed distance would be a problem. They told that they could afford a seed dribbler within the range 2-3 thousand and were ready to use such a machine. They had both women and men labour within the age group 21 to 35 yrs. They performed multi-cropping of cotton, divala and wheat. Generally they sowed one seed at a time. They preferred discontinuous dribbler for cotton and continuous for wheat. They earn 20 to 25 thousand per year. They said that cotton seeds are sown along the sides of a channel with water sprinklers in between while wheat is sown between the channels. The farmers use power motor for irrigation and don’t use drip irrigation due to problem of blockage. They use urea as fertilizer after sowing of seeds is complete. Seeds are procured from IFFCO, Vikram Paanch and Ankur Jaibhitti. Then the team met Rathod parhin from Amrapur who used a tractor for sowing seeds. Looking at the previous prototype he said that it was of no use to him and time consuming when compared to his tracto. He performed multicropping of cotton, jowar, bajra, maize. He said that tractor can perform the task of putting fertilizers as well as seed sowing.


Field visit 2

Bhavesh Dhrangi

Visited Bhavesh Bhai’s field to test the previously made prototype and had a conversation with Bhavesh Bhai to know his opinion.

  • The soil was loose and had had less moisture

  • The team ollected seeds of wheat, grams, cotton, and pigeon-pea from him

  • Bhavesh Dhrangi said that rice grains are sown with hands and no seed dribbler is required

  • Different soil types are preset in his village- rough dry sticky

  • Both drip and open irrigation is used

  • He said if a seed dribbler is more efficient, cost won’t be a barrier

  • For cotton 30 cm is seed space and 1.5 feet depth. For lady finger 30 cm is seed space and 1.5 feet depth

  • Above 18 yrs old labourers work in the field and educated children don’t want to take up farming

  • Both male and female workers work in the farms

  • They use two crops for multi-cropping

  • He suggested that seeds and fertizers should go together while dribbling

  • DAP fertilizer is used. With two seeds 5-6 fertilizer grains is sown

  • Dribbler should be light in weight. Weight limit should be 5 kg

  • With 20 kg seeds 70 to 80 quintal production is obtained

  • Best method is organic farming although the crop production is slow as compared to farming with fertilizers

  • Destruction of crops by wild buffaloes is a problem.


Dr. Naushad

He suggested that the seed dribbler should be multitasking like fertilizer should be put along with the seeds in order to attract the farmers. He suggested that previously made manual seed dribblers were a failure because there was no perfection in planting the number of seeds. The seed rate used to change which could be observed after germination. He said that we have to check out for errors to know after what interval the seed rate changes. Soil types change in different areas. Previously made prototypes were sold for Rs1200. Digger/pointer should be of different sizes. More weight should be downwards for easy digging. Fertilizer amount changes with different seed types. He suggested us to design a dribbler for one particular crop depending on the size of seed such that the seed rate should not change. He told us to look out for a crop for which the dribbler has not yet been designed, to look out for its positive and negative factors and then go for multi-cropping. He suggested going ahead with the crops like maize, soyabean, groundnut and cotton. He suggested designing the seed dribbler depending on the area. Before sowing of seeds ploughing is already done in most of the areas. He said we should make farmers understand the difference in using the manual seed dribbler.


Mind Mapping


  • Soil type

  • Seed type

  • Areas, terrains

  • Methods

  • Safety and health issues

  • Material used for making the device

  • Fertilizers


1. Soil types: could be sticky or dry

2. Seed types: based on different types of seed, the seed size, the seed spacing and seed depth keeps varying; this should be considered while designing the seed dribbler .Thus correct seed rate should be obtained while dribbling a particular seed type. Prof. Anil Gupta suggested using gears to control the seed rate.

3. Methods: comparing the methods used before and that used presently in listing the problems faced (failures) while dribbling and also understanding the reason behind its success. This is also to compare the cost and know what the farmers can afford.

4. Safety and health issues: understand the problems faced when sowing of seeds is done manually

5. Fertilizers: dribbler can be used for multitasking by the farmer to ease the work. The dribbler can also be used to put fertilizers along with sowing of seeds (many suggestions were received for this consideration)

6. Material: comparison with the previously made prototypes we realised that the dribbler was quite heavy. Prof. Anil Gupta suggested us to make the dribbler with different materials to make it light and easy to carry. Also durability and portability of the material is to be taken into consideration

7. Areas and terrains: crop type changes depending on areas and the terrain can be steep or flat.


Some additional considerations:

Labour: To know the gender and age group of the labour who can use the dribbler, we need to consider the height of the dribbler, thus taking into consideration the adjustable length of the dribbler

Continuous and discontinuous process: The dribbler can be used as continuous or discontinuous depending on type of seed

Maintenance: Materials which are easily available and easy to maintain should be considered and overall seed dribbler is easy to maintain

Previous prototype details:

There are many innovations in the field of seed dribbler and there are various flaws such as depth of the seed dribbler cannot be modified, seed spacing cannot be modified in old seed dribblers and main problem is regarding the weight of the machine and its transportation with no perfection in the seed sowing rate.


Examples (from Google search)

Decision Tree

Mechanism and working that were found different from the past models:

1) People told they had an issue in using it because the height remains constant for the model. We are introducing Telescopic Pipe such that the height can be adjusted.

2) New umbrella mechanism at the bottom of the machine was introduced such that when the trigger is pressed, only the umbrella opens and thus seeds can be only drawn when needed.

3) Then a discontinuous and continuous model was made which has detachable wheel

4) For multi cropping the wheel (sowing coupling) which lifts the seed was made detachable so that it can be changed according to the seed type.

5) Keeping weight in consideration we are making use of PVC pipe for prototype


Proof of Concept & Feedback on concept

Insights from discussion with Sachin Panchal

  • He liked the bracket system which we introduced in the extractor wheel.

  • We also shared the ratchet mechanism with him.

  • Also we told him about the adjustable height of the dribbler which was missing in previous prototypes.

  • We shared the idea of using the dribbler in continuous and discontinuous way.

  • Overall he liked the changes made compared to the previous prototype.


Prototyping Version 1.0 (Bamboo Seed Dribbler)

1. This is a semi automated seed dribbler.

2. The wheels are detachable from the machine and can be used as continuous and dis-continuous model.

3. The bottom part has a gate which is controlled through clutch and opens only when clutch is pressed.

4. The roller of seed is governed by an accelerator type of mechanism which rotates the seed wheel

5. The depth can be set according to the requirements

6. The spacing can be set as per required in the mechanism.

7. The seed wheel has a guider on both the side.

8. The height of the dribbler is adjustable and can be changed accordingly.


Youtube links:

Version 1.1(PVC Seed Dribbler)

1. U-PVC pipes are used for the final prototype , thereby reducing the clamps and making it lighter in weight

2. Involves only one mechanism, brake system

3. One single wheel consists of different groove sizes depending on the type and size of seed

4. Thus the mechanism involves pushing one seed at a time

5. It is telescopic and height can be adjusted as per user comfort

6. Depth of the seed is also maintained

7. Wheels can also be attached to the dribbler to make it mobile when needed

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