Korea’s biennial agricultural machinery trade show can be overwhelming by the size of the exposition and the number of farm machines for almost every purpose.

By Zac Sarian

This is KIEMSTA 2016, the Korea International Exhibition for Machinery Equipment, Science and Technology for Agriculture, staged on November 2-5, 2016 in Cheonan City by the Korea Agricultural Machinery Industry Cooperative (KAMICO) headed by chairman Shin Gil Kim.

Asia Tech Managing Director Jae-Won Uhm and FIT Corea’s Philip Kim pose before thousands of small cultivators at Asia Tech’s stockyard.

Imagine seven exhibition halls, each almost as big as the indoor exhibit area of Agrilink at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. And each exhibit hall is filled with nothing but machines and equipment for mechanizing agriculture. The machines come in sizes ranging from the very big ones, as well as very tiny ones.

The big ones include the Robotractor, which is a massive machine that can perform big jobs like excavating fields with its giant buck hoe, or picking up giant bales of hay for livestock feed and other heavy materials. The machine is really big but is very maneuverable, as we witnessed at the demo site. The other big machines are the giant Branson tractors of Kukje Machinery Company and other international exhibitors.

The giant Robotractor that can do a lot of big jobs.

SMALL CULTIVATORS – Of course, there are also machines of more modest sizes that are suitable for developing economies like those of the Philippines and other Asian countries, where there are many small landholdings.

These include the versatile dry-land cultivators that are excellent for preparing land for planting vegetables and other high-value crops. One of the biggest manufacturers of this versatile tiller is Asia Tech, headed by Jae-Won Uhm. Aside from the small tillers, Asia Tech boasts of a ride-on small tractor to which implements can be attached, such as a rotavator, sprayer, weeder, fertilizer spreader, and direct grain seeder. Being a ride-on type, it is very comfortable for the operator.

By changing implements that are attached to Asia Tech’s all-around small cultivator, one machine can perform 40 different functions and finish the work of 40 people. It is capable of ridge weeding, trench hilling, ridge making, and drainage making between narrow furrows and inside greenhouses.

Asia Tech also boasts of multi-purpose speed sprayers for pest control in fruit trees, ride-on rice transplanters, plastic sheet laying machines, power weeders, and many other implements.

The WeCan Global Company is another firm that manufactures machines and implements that are highly suitable for mechanization in the Philippines. These include rotavators that the Agricultural Components Corporation (Agricom) of Isabela is importing not assembled. This will provide work for local people who will do the assembling. By assembling the units in the Philippines, the selling price to farmers will be cheaper by about 20 percent.

A tractor transplanting vegetable seedlings at the KIEMSTA demo area.

Other machines and implements from WeCan are multi-row rice direct seeders, moldboard plows, rotating plows, and sweet potato harvesters.

Of the small machines exhibited, one that caught the attention of the Philippine delegation—which included Eugene Gabriel of Agricom and Dante Delima of Atisco—was the very small and simple gadget that can be attached to a conventional grass cutter. This consists of a blade (US $8 in Korea) that can be used as a weeder in single-row rice fields. It does not only eliminate the weeds, it also cultivates near the root zone at the same time.

GRAFTING MACHINE – Another very small machine is used for grafting seedlings of vegetables. In a matter of one or two seconds, the scion of a desirable vegetable seedling is grafted onto a root stock that is resistant to diseases and other stresses. In the Philippines, one company is grafting ampalaya on patola rootstock. The grafted seedlings cost ₱17 each but the extra expense is more than recovered by the increase in yield.

Many multi-purpose drying machines (not for rice) were showcased at the trade show. They are useful in producing high-quality processed foods. The dryers can dry vegetables, fruits, marine products, herbal materials, and many more. What most fascinated Eugene Gabriel of Agricom (from Isabela) is a mini dryer for household use. It can be a useful gadget in exhibited by LeeWha Products, which is now available in the Philippines at FIT Corea Trading Philippines, headed by Philip Kim.

We are publishing here pictures of the many versatile machines exhibited at KIEMSTA 2016 for our readers to appreciate.

This story appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s January 2017 issue.