Mechanization

Mechanization is the main mechanism involved in large-scale cultivation of Echinacea. Without proper machinery, the cultivation areas and the quantity of the harvested raw materials remain small and costly, and labor intensive. Nevertheless, the grower must ensure that the machinery employed does not negatively affect the quality of the raw materials. The solutions used in mechanizing individual technological elements are quite variable, and reflect the machinery used in different countries, cultivation areas, and farms. Generally, machinery specific to medicinal plants does not exist nor has it been designed. Therefore, all existing machinery at the local level must be tested, and if necessary, adapted for the requirements of Echinacea. Machinery used in different aspects of cultivation is summarized below.

Soil preparation: plough, harrow, rotary harrow, rotary cultivator, tiller, bed ridger, bed lister Fertilization: manure spreader, fertilizer spreader

Propagation: one-row manual seed driller, two- to five-row precision seed driller, greenhouse seed driller, pot filling and seeding line Transplantation of seedlings: one- to four-row transplanter (for vegetables) Crop protection: plant protection sprayer

Mechanical weeding: plastic film layer, interrow cultivator, row rotary cultivator, rotary weeder, rotary hoe, potato ridger, harrow, harrow comb Herb harvest: self-loading trailer, flail, chopper, cutterbar unit, swather, rotary mower Root harvest: carrot, sugarbeet harvester, potato elevator digger with windrowing attachment, root spinner, shaker digger, root washing machines, rotary drum washer, root cutting machines

Seed harvest: standing combine, crusher, threshing machine, seed dressing machine Postharvest processing: chopper, cutter, press Drying: dryers, batch dryer, conveyor belt dryer Packaging: packaging machine

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