KERALA AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY
Kelappaji College of Agricultural Engineering & Technology, Tavanur
The KCAET, Tavanur is the seat of the erstwhile Rural Institute established by the Government of India in the year 1963. This institute was taken over by the University in 1975 and renamed as Institute of Agricultural Technology (IAT). The IAT offered Diploma in Agrl. Science (DASC), Diploma in Agrl. & Rural Engineering (DARE) and Agrl. Mechanic Course (AMC). The Kerala Agricultural University established the Faculty of Agricultural Engineering & Technology in the year 1985 by upgrading the IAT and renamed it as "Kelappaji College of Agricultural Engineering & Technology".
The 40 hectare KCAET campus is located in Tavanur village on the southern bank of Bharathapuzha. Tavanur village in Malappuram district lies 8 kilometres west of Kuttippuram Railway Station and 12 kilometres north of Ponnani. The campus is situated on a hill commanding an enchanting view of the natural scenary around.
B. Tech. And M. Tech. Programmes in agricultural engineering are offered from the inception of the College in 1985.
The Instructional Farm attached to the College has been identified as one of the centres for producing grafts/seedlings/seed materials under the integrated breeder seed multiplication programme.
|Veterinary Hospital & Dairy Unit|
Attached to the College there is a Dairy Unit in the College which has a herd strength of 30 at present. A veterinary Hospital also functions in the College which provides ample facility in Artificial Insemination and treatments of animals to the nearby farmers.
The Faculty has developed a novel Sand Dredger. This labour-saving machine was developed under a project funded by the Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) under the aegis of Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Government of India.
Whiletwo men can dredge only 10 tonnes of sand a day (1.2 tonne/hour), the dredger developed can remove about 120 tonnes a day (15 tonnes/hour). Its diesel consumption is only 1.75 lit/hour. The equipment consists of a low cost high velocity ejector system. This when used with a high pressure centrigugal pump utilizing the discharge of the said pump to suck an additional quantity of water through the device. The water thus sucked into the ejector is several times of the capacity of the centrifugal pump. When the mouth of the ejector is brought near the river bed the suction draws in the sand in a fluidised mass. The high velocity fluidised mass is fed into a hydrocyclone which separates the sand and the water.
The significant feature of this machine is that it does not allow the sand to be drawn into the pump. The pump and the ejector system is mounted on a specially designed floating platform using polyethyene drums as pontoon. The total cost of the machine comes Rs. 26,500/-.
Manual or mechanical harvesting generally acknowledged to be a ecologically sound way of management of excessive aquatic plant growth. However, these harvesting methods are often rejected on account of high cost of collection. Salvinia Molesta, localy known as African Payal has infested large areas of inland water surface of the State. Suitable technique for economic control of this weed were lacking. Kerala Agricultural University has developed a salvinia harvesting machine which utilises conventional pumpsets as the prime mover. A high capacity check device build into the machine sucks, fluidises and pumps out the weed material to the desired height or location. A 10 hp machine has achieved an harvesting rate of 16 ton/hour for continuous operation. With this machine the harvesting cost will be in the order of Rs. 100-150 per hectare as compared to Rs. 1000-1500 per hectare for manual removal.
The floating aquatic weed, Salvinia molesta (locally known as Africal Payal) could be easily fermented and hence is a very good material for biogas production. The average gas production per kg of oven dried salvinia weed was 336 litres with a retention time of 50 days. The gas generation could be doubled when mixed with fresh cowdung in the ratio 1 : 1. Thus we can make up the shortage of cowdung with the use of salvinia weed for biogas production, wherever it is available.
Kuttanad, the rice bowl of kerala, has specific requirements for drainage and other water management practices for supporting sustainable agriculture. Introduction of the locally made propeller pump, known as "petti and para" revolutionised the drainage pumping of the region in the early twentieth century. However, the pump is operated at low efficiency. The operation procedures and agronomic practices need to be standardised for economic rop yield in the different cropping regions evaluated, based on extensive field and loboratory investigations. Soil and water properties, in representative agronomic regions were analysed. A test bench was specially designed and constructed to evaluate the performance of the high discharge low head pumping units under controlled conditions. Functional relationships of the variables influencing the performance of the pump were developed.
Field studies revealed that the efficiency of the unit was very low. The efficiency was slightly higher when the unit was operated without the bottom "para".Within the range of pump speeds included in the tests there was an increase in discharge capacity of pump as well as pump efficiency with increase in pump speed. The optimum speed for high level of efficiency at relatively higher head has been found to be 330-340 rpm for a 15hp pump. Beyond 340 rpm the pump gets overloaded. Possible operational ranges of discharge, total head, input power and efficiency at different operating speeds have been determined for the 15 hp "petti and para" unit. The information is to result in substantial saving in energy and expenditure in drainage pumping which is the most expensive component of farming in Kuttanad.
An improved version of power tiller operated paddy transplanter was made with modifications on components, proper material substitution and high quality of fabrication. Basic structure was strengthened and streamlined. Incorporation of rails and rollers on the seedling tray and special sockets for planting fingers improved the performance of the machine. With a field capacity of 0.13 ha per hour savings of 50% in cost and 85% in labour were achieved. This definitely promises the feasibility in Kerala. The cost of the transplanter is Rs. 15,000/-.
The commercially available flow-through type threshers are not suitable for paddy crop in Kerala because of its higher moisture content. The thresher with the newly developed concave was found more efficient even for the moist and long crops. The 8.0 hp thresher was found to handle crops of 0.30 ha per hour and delivers straw, chaff, stone and clean paddy in separate outlets. A saving of Rs. 950 per ha and 135 man-hrs per ha was achieved compared to manual threshing. The cost of thresher without engine is Rs. 30000/-.
Several improvements like steering clutches, modified power transmission and correct balancing were incorporated in the self propelled 5.0 hp paddy reaperwindrower. Extensive evaluation in different field conditions established its feasibility in Kerala. The walking type harvester has a cutting width of one metre and leaves the harvested crop in a neat windrow. With a field capacity of 0.18 ha per hour a saving of Rs.800 per ha and 125 man-hrs per ha was obtained compared to manual harvesting. The cost of the reaper is Rs. 40000/-.
Improvements on crop dividers, cutter bar, knife guard fictures, conveying, hitching, lifting and transmission assemblies on the 2.2 m wide tractor front mounted paddy reaper windrower was carried out. Extensive field evaluation in different field conditions were carried out. The straw and grain recovery was more compared to manual harvesting. The reaper has a capacity of 0.5 ha per hour and saves an amount of Rs. 950 per ha and 135 man-hrs per ha compared to conventional harvesting. It costs Rs. 20000/-.
The Faculty has developed a very simple and effective tool for easy dehusking of coconuts. It takes about 8 to 12 seconds for dehusking a nut depending on the type and maturity. The tool is light, very simple to use and handy and can be used both indoors and outdoors. The tool has been patented. The University has transferred the technology to RAIDCO for mass production and popularisation.
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