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A Brief History of Collaboration and Development of the CA Seeder 1000

cropped-P3150087.jpgDevelopment, manufacture, and distribution of the CA Seeder 1000 has been and continues to be a collaboration between many parties. The following is a brief history of that process with links to as many web pages of the organizations and individuals as we could find. At the end are brief descriptions of some of the collaborators.

In 2008, John Morrison developed the first prototype of the CA-Seeder in response to needs voiced by agency workers in Africa.  This prototype was front-mounted on a 2-wheel tractor (2WT).  With the assistance of faculty of the Institute of Agriculture, University of Tennessee, in 2009, the seeder was field-tested seeding maize and beans at three locations.

In 2010, ACT and FAO sponsored field-testing and further development of the initial-prototype seeder at Intermech Engineering Co. in Morogoro, Tanzania.  This provided needed experience and design considerations under the field conditions found on smallholder farms in East Africa.

In 2012, WHT organized a demonstration of a second-generation pivoting front-mounted prototype seeder to the engineering staff at KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana, where several limitations of the front-mounting of the seeder design were identified.

Following discussions with the agricultural technology consultant, Mr. Scott Justice, and others, the seeder design was modified to be rear-mounted.  Foot pads were added so the operator could ride on the seeder, rather than having to walk behind the 2WT.  This model was demonstrated and tested in the states of Kentucky and Tennessee, USA, in 2012-13 and demonstrated at a CIMMYT field tour in Kenya, September 2013.

In 2013, two of these rear-mounted seeder prototypes, and in 2014, one early-production model of the CA-Seeder 1000 entered testing in E. Africa as part of the FACASI Project, coordinated by CIMMYT and sponsored/implemented by ACIAR/AIFSRC, ACT, CARMATEC, EIAR, FAO, IDE, IFPRI, KENDAT, NARS, MOAs, SARI, SIMLESA, PSC, ZimCLIFS, and associates.

In 2013-14, the owner of SMTI, Mr. Mike Garrabrant, refined the design of the seeder for manufacturability and durability and had computerized drawings created so that parts could be laser cut and precision welded for economical volume production.

In 2014, SMTI began manufacturing the CA-Seeder 1000 and is providing them at cost to WHT for not-for-profit international distribution. Domestic sales are being handled by SMTI. Also in 2014, one of these seeders entered field testing by CIMMYT in Mexico.

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Collaborator Descriptions

African Conservation Tillage Network (ACT) is a pan-African network that strives to enhance agricultural productivity, sustainable land management, and environmental conservation through promotion of conservation agriculture principles and practices in Africa.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) strives to achieve sufficient food security for all people assuring regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), headquartered in Mexico, is the world’s premier center for research, development, and training in maize and wheat and in farming systems for those two essential food crops with the goal of reducing poverty and hunger by sustainably increasing the productivity of maize and wheat cropping systems. Their coordination of the FACASI Project promotes small-scale mechanization based on 2WTs to reduce the labor burden on smallholder farmers with particular emphasis on the plight of women.

Stone Mountain Technologies, Inc. (SMTI) is a leading developer of cost effective, next generation heating technologies using sorption heat pump cycles.  They graciously donated their engineering expertise to enhance the manufacturability, durability, and maintainability of the seeder for the benefit of smallholder farmers.

World Help Through Technology Foundation (WHT) is a non-profit organization (NGO) focused on creating technological solutions, with an integrated approach to attacking problems in communities around the World.  They are the international distributor for our CA tools.  Contact SeederInfo@WHTFound.org for more information on our CA tools.

John Morrison is a semi-retired agriculture engineer (ex-USDA-ARS in Texas) who now resides in the mountains of rural Unicoi, Tennessee.  His current work is in refining the design of the seeder and associated implements using field trials to improve performance, durability, and ease of manufacturing.  The first production units were assembled in June, 2014.