Microcomputer-Based Software System to Facilitate Mechanical Planting for Agricultural Experiments
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Mechanized planting for experimental purposes such as yield trials and breeding nurseries is plagued by time consuming and often error-prone manual arrangement of seed packets, especially with multiple row planters. At CIMMYT, a four-row planter is used when feasible, for machine planting maize. Careful planning for error-free planting is necessary to fully realize the benefits of mechanized planting. The software system described in this article attempts to address this concern. The MACHPLAN program is written in the Pascal language using commercially available Turbo Pascal. MACHPLAN generates planting plans which can be used for a four-row planter. Tables, created in an ASCII file, contain the field row number (going left to right, right to left in a serpentine fashion in the field) and the four-digit mechanical planter number (from bottom to top and top to bottom in a serpentine fashion in the field). This plan is merged with a planting plan created by the user in a spreadsheet program (e.g., Lotus 1-2-3). Labels are then printed either using any commercially available package or by converting the spreadsheet rile to a database file (e.g., dBASE). Using the mechanical planter number as key, seed packets can be arranged for machine planting.
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