The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) research team in cooperation with the Briggs and Stratton (B&S), a private company supplying farm engines in the Philippines, modified the original design of rice combine harvester from China to fit local farm conditions.
China’s design has reaping, crop conveying, and threshing components only. According to a report submitted to the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), PhilRice and B&S improved the machine’s efficiency by incorporating cleaning, bagging, and recycling components.
Technical evaluation on its performance, which was conducted by the Agricultural Machinery Testing and Evaluation Center of the University of the Philippines Los Banos (AMTEC-UPLB), indicates that the machine performed well with 0.194 hectare per hour field capacity, 86.6 percent field efficiency, 90.3 percent purity of threshed grains, total grain loss of only 1.68 percent, and fuel consumption of 3.68 liters per hour.
AMTEC-UPLB test results are comparable with the data gathered from the endurance tests conducted in Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Tarlac, Pangasinan, and Cagayan, involving farmer-cooperators.
Economic analysis on the use of machine for custom hiring to service farms of organized farmer groups shows that at harvesting cost of P5,442 per hectare, the capital investment of P350,000 can be recovered in 1.7 years or from a harvesting area of 87.3 hectares to break-even.
For individual farmer’s use and ownership, economic viability is high at benefit-cost ratio of 1.36 with a break-even land area of 48 hectares and a payback period of less than one year. Additional income can be realized from the recovered harvesting losses of 5 percent, which is better compared with unrecovered manual harvesting losses of more than 6 percent.
Incidentally, the AMTEC-UPLB research team is composed of Dr. Eulito U. Bautista, Engr. Arnold S. Juliano, Engr. Evangeline B. Sibayan, Dr. Caesar Joventino M. Tado, Mr. Leo B. Moliñawe, Engr. Rolando R. Nicolas, Mr., Rollie L. Carganilla, and Mr. Rodrigo A. Villota. (Ofelia B. Domingo, S&T Media Service)