Choosing the Right Transplanter

A transplanter is an agricultural machine used for transplanting seedlings, trees, shrubs or young plants to the field in order to move them from one place to another. A transplanter must be distinguished from a seed drill which only allows you to sow seeds. In this guide, we’ll discuss the various key points to consider in order to choose the right transplanter for your farm.

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  • How to choose the right transplanter?

    Choosing the right transplanter depends largely on the crops you’re growing. While transplanting, you need to give each plant the space it requires to grow, so the aligned plants can properly develop their roots and leaves. Choosing the right machine depends not only on the type and scale of your crops, but also on the accessibility of the farm. Here are the main points we’ll cover in this guide:


    • Crops
    • Manual or automatic
    • Mobility
  • How to select a transplanter depending on the crops you’re growing?

    The main types of crops for which transplanters are used include vegetables, rice, tobacco, trees, nursery plants and banana trees, to name a few. We can split crops into two main categories: plants and trees.


    • Plants: This includes flowers, vegetables, tobacco, rice, etc. Transplanters for plants make it possible to replant seedlings and bare root plants. They serve in particular to open the furrow in the soil of the destination site, plant the seedlings and close the furrow by packing the soil around the plant. These machines are mainly used in horticulture, floriculture and in the cultivation of rice and tobacco. The main points to take into account when transplanting are the:
      • Position of the plants: Maintain the plant in a vertical position during the transplanting phase.
      • Distance between plants: The distance between one plant and another, as well as the transplanting depth, must be precise.
      • Hourly output: Choose a machine a machine with a productivity level adapted to your needs while ensuring the two above-mentioned points.
    • Trees and shrubs: Transplanters for trees and shrubs can transplant adult trees up to a trunk diameter of 15 cm. A three-point hitch tractor carries the transplanter, connected by quick couplings to the hydraulic circuit of the tractor.
    Plants transplanter - Grimme Landmaschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG

    Plant transplanter – Grimme Landmaschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG

    Trees transplanter - Damcon BV

    Tree transplanter – Damcon BV

  • What should I know about automatic or manual transplanters?

    It’s necessary to consider whether you need a manual or automatic machine. A manual transplanter is a manually operated machine that allows operators to transplant seedlings in rows. The machine has the capacity to work in 2 to 5 rows at a time, with 2 to 5 seats for the operators. The output of this type of machine varies between 5,000 and 12,000 plants/hour. 


    An automatic transplanter has an automatic distribution system with movements actuated by pneumatic cylinders which are synchronized by a programmable logic controller (PLC). These transplanters can have a pneumatic or an electro-pneumatic distribution, and they are precise, fast and efficient machines. The yield reaches 24,000 plants/hour. This type of machine allows a distance of up to 14 cm between plants and up to 31 cm between rows. The supply for planting is carried out in rows of strip seedlings.


    1. Less maintenance required
    2. Less expensive
    3. Requires a greater number of operators
    4. Transplanting precision depends on the operators
    1. More expensive
    2. More efficient
    3. Allows for greater precision in terms of distance and depth for more uniform planting


    manual transplanter - OLIVER AGRO SRL

    Manual transplanter – OLIVER AGRO SRL

    automatic transplanter - Standen Engineering

    Automatic transplanter – Standen Engineering


  • What should I know about the mobility of transplanters?

    The different types of mobility for transplanters—towed, self-propelled and walk-behind—are suitable for specific cases. Find information in the chart below for each type of mobility in order to make the best choice of machine for your farm.


    Farm size Planting window Farm accessibility Purchase price
    Towed Large farm Short Easy/hard accessibility Moderately expensive
    Self-propelled Large farm Short Easy to access Expensive
    Walk-behind Small farm Short / Long Easy/hard to access Cheap


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