Water Wheel Transplanter

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Transplanters hitch to the back of a tractor to allow for rapid plantings with watering midtransplant to reduce losses due to transplant shock and inhibit weeds by delaying irrigation at the start of planting. Mycorrhizal dips or extra fertilizer can easily be added to transplant water to increase yield.

A water wheel tranplanter uses a water tank that gravity feeds the wheels that roll across the bed as the tractor moves. Transplanting crew sits in seats and plants as holes are made and filled with water. Long slanted shelves hold extra seed flats.


  • Tractor hitch should support whole assembly for wheel-less operation (three point vs. trailer hitch - depends on tractor's components)
  • Water wheels should have adjustible spikes to customize plant spacing along the bed (industry standards: 12, 15, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48")
  • Water axle should accomodate 1-3 water wheels depending on plant spacing across the bed
  • Water flow should be regulated with a valve that is accessible to the crew member
  • Pedal clutch (with lock mechanism) to lift water wheels for adjustment, transportation, emergency, etc
  • Clutch and valve accessibility should be on the same side (typically left) to accomodate transplanting with only one crew member in back
  • Built-in jack stands to keep assembly upright when not in use
  • Water tank in ratio with flat carrying capacity:
    • 16 flats:85 gallons
    • 26 flats:150 gallons
  • Footrests, for leisure

Retail Cost

Average retail price:

  • $1,400 frame and tank
  • $133 wheel
  • $$ add ons

Average price, local builder:

  • $2,000 assembly

Open Source Water Wheel Transplanter

Bill of Materials