As we approach the summer, it’s time to turn our attention to high-volume corm planting. We’ve received a lot of inquiries about mechanizing saffron corm sowing, and we’re excited to provide you with some helpful information.

Over the years, there have been many innovations for semi- to fully-mechanized farming tools to help plant large amounts of saffron corms. In this newsletter, we’ll explore some of the most successful technologies and adaptations:

  • Single-bottom moldboard plow with corm hopper that is drawn by a tractor while a worker throws corms in a free-fall tube

  • Spoon/cup seed metering device (similar to those used in potato planters)

  • A seven-row saffron corm planter with a corm container, roller-type seed metering device, furrow openers, corm covering packer, carrying wheels, and a power transmission as developed to be attached to a tractor via a three-point hitch and the seed metering device driven by a ground wheel (see picture below from Saeidirad, 2020).

While these are innovations are sourced via the literature, there are some other interesting developments that we will discuss hereafter and provide links to for further investigations.

According to Hans Rotteveel (President of Roco Saffron, one of the world’s largest saffron corm producers) via personal communications:

  • Onion/potato/tulip planters can be easily adopted for saffron corm planting

  • Potato and groundnut (peanut) diggers can be adopted for digging and collecting corms with some modifications

If you’d like to explore more opportunities and examples, see this video by the Cornell School of Integrative Plant Science, a cup bulb planter by Willsie, or other bulb transplanters by AgriExpo.

We hope this information helps you optimize your saffron cultivation and achieve a successful off-spring corm harvest and summer corm sowing.

The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” — Masanobu Fukuoka


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