Gov't researchers develop 2-in-1 rice-corn machine
- Rudy A. Fernandez () - August 21, 2011 - 12:00am

BATAC CITY, Ilocos Norte ,Philippines  – A two-in-one rice-corn farm machine has been developed by government researchers here.

Called panicle thresher-corn sheller (PT-CS), it is an improvement of an existing rice thresher with the addition of the function of corn sheller.

Normally used only during the wet season, the rice thresher can now be used for corn shelling during the dry season, an innovation achieved by a team of agricultural engineers of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) composed of Eulito Bautista, Reynaldo Castro, Reynald Cecili, and Mary Ann Baradi.

“This saves farmers from buying and using separate postharvest equipment,” said PhilRice, the Department of Agriculture (DA) research arm established in 1985 to develop high-yielding rice varieties and cost-saving technologies to help farmers produce enough for the burgeoning population.

Rice and corn are major crops grown in Ilocos Norte throughout the year.

The PT-CS’s technical performance and economic viability can considerably help farmers in their production activities and at the same time earn them extra income, attested reports monitored by the Los Baños-based Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD).

The machine is affordable, mobile, simple in design, and easy to operate that even women can handle it. It is powered by a 3.73-kilowatt gasoline engine and made from locally available materials.

“Actual test at farmers’ fields showed that the PT-CS can thresh 314 kilograms of rice grains per hour with 97 percent efficiency and an average grain loss of only 2.58 percent,” reported PhilRice currently headed by new Executive Director Eufemio Rasco Jr.

For its corn shelling component, the machine can shell 473 kg unhusked corn per hour with 95 percent efficiency and an average grain loss of 4.76 percent. Also, it can shell 1,178 kg of husked corn with 96 percent efficiency and an average grain loss of 3.65 percent.

The PT-CS’s capacity fits small landholdings of Ilocos farmers. It is equipped with a cleaner (blower and screen assembly) that minimizes handling time.

At P37,000 initial cost, net benefit is computed at P57,713 assuming 20 days of operation for each component. This net benefit is higher than the panicle thresher alone with P21,249.

Investment can be recovered in only 0.64 year with 156 percent return-on-investment (ROI) and benefit-cost ratio of 9.29.

“Those figures are based on actual performance data and prevailing costs in Ilocos Norte in 2008,” PhilRice concluded.

CORN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE EULITO BAUTISTA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR EUFEMIO RASCO JR. FORESTRY AND NATURAL RESOURCES RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ILOCOS NORTE LOS BA MARY ANN BARADI PHILIPPINE COUNCIL PHILIPPINE RICE RESEARCH INSTITUTE
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