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maripam
Starting Member

Zimbabwe
2 Posts

Posted - 05/12/2006 :  19:31:42  Show Profile  Edit Topic  Reply with Quote  View user's IP address  Delete Topic
May you have a look at this research project that was carried out so as to develop the agricultural mechanization model.

DEVELOPING

AN AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION MODEL

FOR

CROP ENTERPRISES USING ANIMAL AS A PRIMARY POWER SOURCE.

BY
MARIPA MWAMUSA
(R012289Q)

SUPERVISOR: ENGINEER R NAZARE

An Undergraduate Research Project Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree of Bachelor of Science Honours in Agricultural Engineering.
MAY 2006
Department of Soil Science & Agricultural Engineering
University of Zimbabwe
P.O Box MP 167
Mount Pleasant
Harare
Tel: 263(4) 303211 ext 1412
Fax: 263(4) 333407.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisor Engineer R Nazare for the generous support and guidance he gave me throughout the year whilst working on this research. I am so grateful to Mr. E Nyakudya for the encouragement and moral support during time of my research. Appreciation is also expressed to my family, friends, relatives and the university staff for informed constructive criticism and moral support whilst working on this project.























ABSTRACT

The agricultural mechanization model was developed for maize, wheat, cotton and sorghum production. In developing the model, production information databases for the above mentioned crops were compiled. Conditions for carrying out the crop production operations for each crop were attached. Implement selection for each crop production operation was carried out and determination of work rates of each implement was done. After this, scheduling of operations on each crop using pure animal power, double animal power and tractor interventions at selected crop production operations was carried out. Factors that contribute to field inefficiencies such as chisi and rainfall interruptions were also factored in during the scheduling process. Chisi and rainfall interruptions contributed to a field inefficiency of 25%.

Scheduling was carried out for two options (chemical and mechanical) of weed control for maize, cotton and sorghum and the general maximum area that can be attained per crop per season was established under each situation.

From the observations of the study, it was found that the crop enterprise that has the longest production time has also the maximum attainable area per season and the vice versa is true. Maize and sorghum with a production period of 60 days yielded maximum area while wheat with a 15 day production period yielded the least area. Hence from these observations it was concluded that area attained per crop per season was dependent on the crop enterprise under production.











TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1………………………………………………………………?

Introduction………………………………………………………………?
1.1 Background
1.2 Justification
1.3 Objectives
1.3.1 Main Objective
1.3.2 Specific Objectives
1.4 Hypothesis

CHAPTER 2

Literature Review
2.1 Field Operations in Crop Production Systems
2.1.1 Land Preparation
2.1.2 Primary Tillage
2.1.3 Secondary Tillage
2.1.4 Seed Establishment (Planting)
2.1.5 Basal Fertilizer Application
2.1.6 Weeding
2.1.7 Plant Protection
2.1.8 Top Dress Fertilizer Application
2.2 Points to Remember When Buying Tools and Implements
2.3 Primary Tillage Implements
2.3.1 Standard Mouldboard Plough
2.4 Secondary Tillage (Seedbed Preparation) Implements
2.4.1 Animal Drawn Harrows
2.5 Seed Establishing, Basal and Fertilizer Application Equipment
2.5.1 Seed and Fertilizer Planter
2.6 Implements for Inter-cultivation
2.6.1 Animal Drawn Cultivator
2.7 Plant Protection Equipment
2.7.1 Sprayers

CHAPTER 3
Methodology
3.1 Creation of Crop Production Information Databases.
3.1.1 Interviews on Crop Production Information Databases
3.2 Establishing maximum area tilled under each crop using pure animal power
3.2.1 Establishing Data on rainfall and Chisi
3.2.2 Determination of work rates
3.2.3 Work Scheduling
3.3 Establishing maximum area attained with double animal and tractor power interventions at selected operations.

CHAPTER 4
Results
4.1 Crop Production Information Databases
4.2 The Agricultural Mechanization Model
4.3 Work Scheduling
4.3.1 Wheat
4.3.2 Maize
4.3.3 Cotton
4.3.4 Sorghum

CHAPTER 5
Discussion
5.1 Crop Production Information Databases
5.2 The Agricultural Mechanization Model
5.3 Work Scheduling
CHAPTER 6
Conclusions and Recommendations

CHAPTER 7
References




















LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: Wheat Production Database
Table 2: Maize Production Database
Table 3: Sorghum Production Database
Table 4: Cotton Production Database
Table 5: Work scheduling for cotton production using tractor power at ploughing.
Table 6: Results for wheat production
Table 7: Results for maize production under use of pre-emergence herbicides
Table 8: Results for maize production under use of mechanical weed control
Table 9: Results for cotton production under use of pre-emergence herbicides
Table 10: Results for cotton production under use of mechanical weed control
Table 11: Results for sorghum production under use of pre-emergence herbicides
Table 12: Results for sorghum production under use of mechanical weed control














1.0 INTRODUCTION

Agricultural mechanization embraces the manufacture, distribution and operation of all types of tools, implements, machines and equipment for agricultural land development, farm production and crop harvesting. It includes three main power sources: human, animal and motorized. Based on these power sources, the technology levels of mechanization have been broadly classified as hand-tool technology, draught-animal technology and motorized technology (R C Gifford, 1992).

Hand tool technology is the simplest and most basic level of agricultural mechanization. The term refers to tools and implements which use human muscle as the power source. Draught-animal technology refers to a wide range of equipment, implements and machines used in agriculture which are powered by animals, usually oxen. Motorized-power technology is the highest level of mechanization commonly used in agriculture today. It has many forms: a wide range of tractor sizes used as mobile power field operations and transport or as stationary power for many different machines (R C Gifford).
The use of animal power in performing farm operations has been identified for decades as a technology appropriate for smallholder A1 and communal farmers in Zimbabwe. As a farm power source to supplement human power, the use of animal draught power widely referred to as animal traction has proved elsewhere to benefit farmers by increasing labour productivity, allowing seasonal labour bottlenecks to be overcome and increasing yields ( W K Jaeger, 1986).

In Zimbabwe a lot of people have been allocated lands for crop production in both A1 and A2 models. This study is going to be centered on model A1 and smallholder communal farmers. Land is now not a limiting factor as far as crop production is concerned but the farm power source has now become a great problem to the newly resettled farmers ,hence there is need of addressing how best farmers can engage themselves in crop production with the little resources they posses. As a way of solving this problem, there is need of developing an agricultural mechanization model using animal as primary power source.


1.1 BACKGROUND

It is estimated that in southern and eastern Africa, 80% of all land used for cropping is still worked by hand. Animals are used on only 15% of the land and then mostly for pulling ploughs only and for mechanical power is used in only 5% of cases (G Pellizi, 1988).
Tools, implements and powered machinery, are essential and major inputs to agriculture; it can be argued that they are one of the most important. The term "Mechanization" is generally used as an overall description of the application of these inputs. There are three levels of farm power used to provide an energy source for the utilization of these tools, machines and equipment: human (manual) power, animal draught and motorized power.
The level, appropriate choice and subsequent proper use of mechanized inputs into agriculture have a direct and significant effect on achievable levels of agricultural production, the profitability of farming and the environment. In general, in a situation where the expansion of agricultural land is limited, the application of advanced tools and machines does not, by itself, lead to increased unit yields. However, the full benefit achieved through the use of many advanced crop husbandry inputs such as improved seed, fertilizer, and pesticides, cannot be realized without the use of improved tools. Only under certain conditions, where production increases achieved through the use of other improved inputs has come to its limits, can improved tools and equipment by themselves lead to production increases, cost reductions or improvements in the environmental sustainability of farming. In situations where land is not a constraint, increased farm power can lead to direct increases in production by simply increasing the land area or animal numbers that one man can handle (G Pellizi, 1988).

In the past, misunderstood concepts and inappropriate selection and use of certain mechanization inputs (mainly tractors and heavy machinery) have, in many parts of the world, led to heavy financial losses and lower agricultural production as well as environmental degradation. Mechanization has often become a burden to the national budget and the farming community rather than being a productive input (A K Reinhard, 1976).

1.2 JUSTIFICATION

The model can be used by the government through the ministry of agriculture, lands and rural resettlement as an agricultural mechanization strategy. By definition, an agricultural mechanization strategy is a way of organizing and allocating available resources to put plans into effect. It also recognizes the obstacles and problems in achieving goals. Thus if the model is adopted and used as an agricultural mechanization strategy, the government can make the following decisions based on the model;
#9830; Total demand for farm power in relation to agricultural production goals.
#9830; Combinations of human, animal and motorized technology which will best meet the power requirements for production.
#9830; Production operations on which different mechanization inputs will be used.
#9830; Methods for making machinery inputs available to the farmers, for example individual ownership, public or private hire services or rental schemes and cooperative use.
#9830; Methods of ensuring availability of appropriate mechanization inputs for example authority and responsibility for imports, local manufacture, sales distribution, services for machinery as well as for fuel and oil.
#9830; Priority for foreign exchange to be used for mechanization and method of allocation of funds for purchase of machinery, spares and supplies.
#9830; Structure, manpower and operating budget for mechanization research, development, extension and training for farmers and government staff.
From the above mentioned decisions, it can be seen that in making these decisions, the government will be overally dealing with the problems of shortage of farm power; hence a solution to the existing farm power problems to the Zimbabwean farmers will be solved.

The agricultural mechanization model is used to predetermine the seasonal area a farmer can put under production, hence the farmer himself can compare the area he intends to put under production with the available resources, type and number of inputs required to cover the gap. Thus the model also becomes a planning tool for the farmer.

The model presents a base for research and development of implements and equipment of higher work rates and this in turn presents a foundation for the design and fabrication of new agricultural equipment, implements and machinery with higher work rates. Hence the model will also be of paramount importance to agricultural research institutions and agricultural equipment and machinery manufacturers.

Thus it is worthy to develop an agricultural mechanization model for crop enterprises, which addresses problems associated with crop production such as scarcity of farm power source and matching of land to available power source.














1.3 OBJECTIVES

1.3.1 Main Objective

To develop an agricultural mechanization model which will be used in the production of maize, sorghum, wheat and cotton using animals as primary power source.

1.3.2 Specific Objectives

(a) To compile mechanization production information databases for maize, sorghum, wheat and cotton.
(b) To establish the general maximum area attained under each crop when using pure animal power and associated interventions.


1.4 HYPOTHESIS

The production area attainable per season with pure animal power and associated interventions is dependent on the crop enterprise.












2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Field Operations in Crop Production Systems
2.1.1 Land Preparation
This operation aims at clearing the land of unwanted vegetation. Sometimes because of high rainfall, vegetation can be very dense requiring adequate land preparation before the crop season starts. Clearing should be done only as much to allow tillage. Main tools for this work are knives (machetes), axes and hand hoes (B Theodore, 1984).
2.1.2 Primary Tillage
Primary tillage involves the mechanical manipulation of the soil with the aim of loosening the soil. The tilth of the soil deteriorates because of cropping and the pounding effect of rain. To improve the soil structure it has to be manipulated. The process of tillage improves the soil by: opening up the soil for easy root development and nutrients uptake; improves air and water uptake and circulation in the soil; cutting and burying weeds; incorporating into the soil organic matter, manure and chemical fertilizers. Tillage methods with good initial control over the weeds should be used. This can vary from region to region and with different tools but the mouldboard plough is probably one of the most effective implements for this work. Primary tillage should be done after the start of the rains when the soil has become moist. It is done mainly by hand hoe and by mouldboard plough and sometimes by ridgers (B Theodore, 1984).
2.1.3 Secondary Tillage
The purpose of secondary tillage is to break up the clods into fine tilth in order to prepare a good seedbed. The work is very important when planning to plant small cereals and when mechanical planters are to be used on the land. The plough is usual tool for this work, but harrows; cultivators and ridgers can also be used. Sometimes, the land is tilled twice to prepare a really good seedbed (B Theodore, 1984).
2.1.4 Seed Establishment (Planting)
This is the placement of the seed into the soil. Accurate placement ensures good and uniform germination. Crops have different planting depth requirements and each seed should be planted at the optimum depth for that crop. If seeds are not planted deep enough in the soil, this will lead to poor seed contact with the soil. If they are planted too deep, the seeds will become exhausted before reaching the surface. Seeds should be planted in straight rows to maximize plant densities and to make it easier to use animals to weed between the crops. Usually a hole is dug using a hand hoe or stick and the seed is dropped into the hole by hands, the hole then covered with soil (E Joachim, 1978)
Where ploughs are used, planting behind the plough is fairly common. Seed is dropped in every second or third furrow and covered with soil from the next furrow slice. Covering of the furrow can also be done by foot or tree branch or light harrow pulled by animals. In some areas, small cereals like sorghum are broadcasted over the field and covered using a tree branch or a light harrow.
2.1.5 Basal Fertilizer Application
Fertilizer is applied to the soil to provide nutrients to the crop as it grows. It is usually added at the same time as seeds are planted using the same equipment. Phosphorus, the most commonly used fertilizer, has limited mobility and dissolves rather slowly. Therefore to make it readily available to the young developing roots of the crop it should be applied early and close to the seed (C Peter, 1989).
2.1.6 Weeding
Weeding is usually done twice with hand hoes, but cultivators, harrows and herbicides are also used to a limited extent. Some weeds grow so fast that a farmer working with a hand hoe cannot cut them down fast enough however, and if possible a plough with its mouldboard removed should be used for weeding. Early weeding is important to reduce the amount which is lost to the air through the surface of the weeds: a moisture stressed crop is easily overcome by weeds.
The first weeding aims to remove unwanted plants by mechanical or chemical means. The weeding should start early (not later than 2 to 3 weeks after planting) to take out the vigorously sprouting weeds and to give the crop seedlings a good start without too much competition. The plants should be kept free from weeds for at least 30 to 40 first days. The second weeding is done 2 to 3 weeks after the first weeding in order to take care of late established weeds and weed re-growth (C Peter, 1989).
Mechanical weed control is maintained by the use of animal drawn cultivator supplemented by hand hoes offers an effective weed control on flat cultivation systems. The cultivator takes care of the weeds between the crop rows while the weeds inside the rows between plants can be removed with a hand hoe. In fields with ridges, a ridger should be used instead of the cultivator.
Chemical weed control is maintained by using herbicides. Pre-emergence herbicides are applied after planting but before the plant seedling emerges. Post-emergence herbicides are applied later in the season: they are selective which means that the herbicide takes care of the weeds but leaves the crop plants undamaged.
2.1.7 Plant Protection
Whenever moisture levels are high enough, weeds, fungi, insects and parasites flourish, and subject the crop plants to severe competition, parasitic infection and disease. Plant protection includes preventive measures, which are taken before the plants become heavily infested, and curative measures, which are taken in order to destroy the insects and curb diseases once they have set in. The best control is achieved by combining the above two methods. Preventive measures should be taken as a routine practice according to local recommendations, while curative measures should be taken whenever insect attacks or disease appears. Granular pesticides are normally applied by hand while liquid formulations are distributed with sprayers (C Peter, 1989).

2.1.8 Top Dress Fertilizer Application
The application of fertilizers, normally nitrates, alongside or on top of growing plants is essential to avoid losses due to leaching. In the early development stage of a plant, the nitrogen uptake is low. It increases as the crop grows and reaches its maximum at flowering stage, therefore the nitrogen fertilizer should be applied before this flowering stage. The fertilizer is usually in granular form and is spread by hand 3 and 5 weeks after planting (R C Gifford, 1992).
2.2 Points to Remember When Buying Tools and Implements
When a farmer buys a tool, it is often one of the biggest investments he or she makes in any one year. Therefore, before parting with his or her hard-earned money, the farmer should take every step to make sure that the tool is going to be as good as the promises made by the person making or selling the tool, and that it is going to perform all of the tasks that the farmer wants it to perform.
The best way to check that a tool is the right one is to put it to work! Before buying a tool therefore, a farmer should try to visit someone who has such a tool and try it out on his or her field.
Anyone thinking of buying a tool should check the following points before handing over any money:
#9830;Are there any support facilities available for the tool? For example, where can the spare parts of the tool be purchased and for how much? Where can the tool be repaired if it breaks?
#9830;What maintenance requirements does the tool have? How often will the pieces wear out and need replacing and can farmers fix some of these on their own? If not where can the tool be taken to be fixed and for what cost?
#9830;Is the tool of a high quality which will last a long time? Are there a variety of different priced tools, which seem to do the same thing, and if so, why are some of them more costly? Is it worth spending more for a tool, which will last longer?
#9830;Does the tool come with necessary information on how to operate it? A buyer should insist in getting an?operators manual”of some kind when buying more complex tools and machinery (for example ploughs, ridgers, cultivators)
#9830;Does the tool come with a guarantee? What does the guarantee include? A guarantee should enable the buyer to get repaired or replaced free of charge, any faults or breakages which come about because the tool has been badly made (R C Gifford, 1992).
2.3 Primary Tillage Implements
2.3.1 Standard Mouldboard Plough
The plough is usually pulled by a pair of oxen using a standard plough yoke, which is between 80 to 90 centimeters in length. As the plough is drawn along the field, it cuts and loosens the soil, lifting it up and turning it upside down so that the soil crumbles. As it moves, it cuts weeds and buries them together with any plant material, which has been lying on the surface.
Each piece of the plough has an important role to play. The share cuts and loosens the soil; it is a piece, which determines how wide the furrow will be. The share can be straight, or be upset which works better in hard dry soils. Bigger shares have higher work rates, but they need more powerful animals to drag them across the field.
The mouldboard is a curved plate, which lifts up the soil and turns it upside down, making the soil crumble. The front edge of the mouldboard helps to cut down into the soil (G Constance, 1988).
The landslide is a long, flat bar that is bolted to the frog. As the mouldboard lifts and turns the soil, the landslide makes sure that the plough is stabilized and does not fall over.
The depth wheel steadies the plough and controls how deep it cuts into the soil; it makes sure that the depth is the same all the way along the field that has been ploughed.
The hake controls the width and depth of the furrow created by the plough. It does this by moving the hitch point, or chain position, from side to side and up and down. The frog is the central part of the plough to which the beam, mouldboard, share and landslide are attached.
When the plough is working well, it runs smoothly, and creates furrows, which are the same depth all the way along the field. The person who is guiding the plough does not have too much pressure on the wheel, and the process does not demand much effort to be done successfully. A plough works well when it is adjusted. There are two adjustments, which can be done in the field. One controls how deep is the furrow created by the plough and the other controls how wide is the furrow (G Constance, 1988).
The plough will be good for many seasons if the farmer properly maintains it. Any mud and soil, which collects on the plough, should be cleaned at the end of each day. Nuts and bolts should be tightened daily. At the end of the season, the plough should be cleaned thoroughly and all shiny surfaces should be covered with oil so that the plough does not get rusty. When moving it across a field or when moving to and from the field, the share, mouldboard and handles will become worn out and will need replacement. The plough should be loaded onto a cart if it needs to be moved from one field to another field, which is far away (J William, 1979).
2.4 Secondary Tillage (Seedbed Preparation) Implements
2.4.1 Animal Drawn Harrows
The harrow is a tool that is used to create a finely structured soil in which seeds can be planted and can also be used to level uneven and cover seeds after planting. The tool harrow has a frame, which is made out of steel, to which spikes or teeth are attached. The most common shape for the frame is a triangle because it makes the harrow less likely to swivel from side to side as it is being used.
The harrow normally penetrates the soil to a depth of 10 to 15 centimetres, but adjusting the harrow can control this depth. For deep harrowing the spikes or teeth should point forward in the direction of the ground to be worked; weight should be added to the frame and a number of teeth should be reduced. For shallow harrowing, the spikes should be adjusted so that they point backwards in the direction that the harrow has traveled and the number of teeth should be increased (J William, 1979).
Spikes, which are set at an angle, are better than ones, which point straight down from the frame, because they break up clods more effectively. When in use, the frame should be horizontal so that spikes both at the front and the back are penetrating the soil. If a chain is used which is too short, this can lift the front of the harrow above the ground so that the spikes do not penetrate the soil and the result is less effective.
A harrow should not be used on soils that are very wet, because it will cause smearing and sealing of the soil surface. The next time it rains the water will runoff and the hard surface, resulting in less water sinking into the soil to be used by the plants.
The harrow should be stored in a dry place. The teeth should be kept sharp so that they can penetrate the soil easily. Well-maintained teeth should last three seasons before they need replacement.
2.5 Seed Establishing, Basal and Fertilizer Application Equipment
2.5.1 Seed and Fertilizer Planter
This is based on a standard plough frame. Connected to this frame is a furrow opener; a fertilizer hopper; a seed hopper and a cover.
The seed hopper is a cylindrical tin made of welded or tin smithed scrap metal. Holes, which are big enough for the seeds being planted, are drilled around the middle section of the tin. The hopper is mounted on two wheels and an axle passes through both ends of the tin. The seed hopper is attached to the plough beam, behind the furrow opener, the hopper rolls as the planter is moved, and drop, seeds through the holes into the furrow. A chain is connected to the axle of the seed hopper. As the planter is moved, the chain drags behind and moves soil over the seeds, which have just been deposited, into the earth. When the user reaches the end of the field, he or she can use the chain to lift the seed hopper and thereby step the hopper from dropping seeds.
A ripper is connected to the handle and beam of a standard plough, in place of the share and mouldboard, and acts as the furrow opener. A fertilizer hopper, which is a container made of welded or tin- smithed scrap metal, is attached to the top of the frame. The hopper is tapered at the bottom so that the fertilizer flows easily out of it. A restriction plate is fitted to the bottom of the hopper, which comes out of the hopper. A fertilizer hose is fitted to the bottom of the hopper, and carries fertilizer to the soil surface (J William, 1979).
2.6 Implements for Inter-cultivation
2.6.1Animal Drawn Cultivator
Farmers for several different tasks for example, primary and secondary tillage, furrow making and weeding, are using cultivators. Different models are available for the different tasks.
There are many different types of cultivators available, but most of them are used only for weeding. The basic frame shaped either like a triangle or a rectangle and a number of times are attached to thee frame. There is a depth wheel at the front of most cultivators, which works in a similar way to the plough. There is often an adjustment handle that controls the working width of the cultivator.
The metal tines attached to the frame can be of two different designs: rigid or spring tines. The rigid tines maintain constant working depth, unlike the spring tines, but they are more easily damaged. The spring tines vibrate when working the soil, breaking down the structure more effectively than rigid tines. They also rebound when hitting hard objects in the soil, and this prevents damage to the cultivator and to the animals, which pull the tool.
Chisel points are used for breaking through are used for breaking through the hard layer that sometimes develops on top of the soil. Shovel points are solid shares that are used for loosening the soil at some depth below the surface.
To get the best out the cultivator, it should be used when the soil is moderately moist: if the soil is too wet it will get caught up between the tines leading to soil smearing. If it is too dry, the lumps of soil will merely bounce off the tines without being broken.
The chain attachment point and the depth wheel are used for controlling how deep the cultivator works in the soil. Some cultivators have extra adjustments for the tines which changes the angle at which the points enter the soil, and thereby give the farmer extra control over the tool (J William, 1979).

For maintenance the points should always kept sharp and replaced when they become worn. Mud and soil which has gathered on the cultivator should be cleaned at the end of each day, and the nuts and bolts be tightened. at the end of the season the cultivator should be cleaned thoroughly and all shiny surfaces should be covered with oil to prevent rusting.

2.7 Plant Protection Equipment
2.7.1 Sprayers
They consist of a container for liquid carried on the back, a diaphragm or piston pump, an air vessel, an agitator, a short rubber pipe, lance and a spraying nozzle. A piston pump generally produces a high pressure than one with a diaphragm, and gives a better spray, but more effort is needed to work it (J William, 1979).
















3.0 METHODOLOGY

The study was structured in such a way that for each of the objectives a particular method was used to gather the necessary information. The student was attached as part of the research team on the development of an agricultural mechanization model under the supervision and coordination of Engineer R Nazare.During the attachment there were a number of visits to agricultural institutes such as the Institute of Agricultural Engineering (IAE), Agricultural Research Trust (ART) and Agricultural Research and Extension department (AREX).The above were the research areas to allow closer observations and identifications of the essential data needed to develop the model. Details of the procedure are given below.

3.1 Creation of Crop Production Information Databases.

Prior to the development of an agricultural mechanization model for crop enterprises (maize, wheat, sorghum and cotton) using animal as a primary power source, a detailed knowledge of cropping enterprise practiced in the country was crucial. This was particularly essential because there are different crops, crop requirements and production operations at different stages of growth that implied use of different power source, machines and implements.
To facilitate understanding of the different crops, crop requirements and production operations at different growth stages wide ranging interviews were conducted with agronomists who were specialists in maize, wheat, sorghum and cotton production at Agricultural Research and Extension department (AREX).

3.1.1 Interviews on Crop Production Information Databases

The interviews were carried out paying particular attention to the establishment of crop management system, cropping programmes, cropping patterns, cropping calendar and the scheduling of operations. All these factors were discussed in relation to the type of farm power, implements and machinery management. The main objective was to unitize the production operations and to show how the unit operations were linked to form a whole process. This was meant to benefit the farmers to comprehend where and how the farm power source, implement and machinery were used in the underlining process. Hence various farming operations were broken down into unit processes.


3.2 Establishing maximum area tilled under each crop using pure animal power

In order to establish the maximum area tilled by pure animal power under each crop, the following procedure was followed; establishing data on rainfall and Chisi likely to interrupt crop production operations for summer crops (maize, sorghum and cotton), establishing work rates for different animal powered crop production operations and finally work scheduling.

3.2.1 Establishing Data on rainfall and Chisi

To enable the student to have full knowledge on rainfall data the student held personal interviews with the Meteorological department and from these; it was found that 25% of the available planting time range of all summer crops is interrupted by rainfalls. It was also found that for all summer crops, a day is set aside for Chisi every week in order to appease the local spirits.

3.2.2 Determination of work rates

Effective work rates for different animal powered operations were got from the literature at the Institute of Agricultural Engineering (I.A.E) library. Effecive work rates for tractor powered operations were got from the publications of the Agricultural Research Trust (ART).



3.2.3 Work Scheduling

Work scheduling was performed over the allowable planting time range on each of the commodities selected in order to determine the maximum area that can be tilled under each crop.

3.3 Establishing maximum area attained with double animal and tractor power interventions at selected operations.

A sequential procedure was performed in a similar way as that done under pure animal power situation in order to establish maximum area attained with double animal interventions at selected operations. Thus steps in sections 3.2.1, 3.2.2 and 3.2.3 were repeated to accomplish this procedure.


















4.0 RESULTS

4.1 Crop Production Information Databases

Crop databases (production systems) for wheat, maize, sorghum and cotton are show using the following tables.

Table 1: Wheat Production Database

Operations Methods Work rate(ha/day) Set dates
Primary tillage (Ploughing)
Tractor

Animal 3.00

0.30
Any period before seed establishment
Secondary tillage
(Harrowing)
Tractor

Animal 12.80

2.00

Before seed establishment
Seed establishment
(Planting) Broadcaster

Animal 34.40

0.40
1 to 15 May
Fertilizing (Basal dressing)
Broadcaster

Animal 34.40

0.40 During seed establishment

Crop maintenance
(Post-emergency herbicide application) Spray boom (7m wide)

Knapsack sprayer 20.80



2.00 21 days after planting
Fertilizing
(Top dressing)

Vicon top dress

Human 32.00

2.00
25 days after planting





Table 2: Maize Production Database

Operations Methods Work rate (ha/day) Set dates
Primary tillage
(Ploughing) Animal

Tractor 0.30

3.00 Any period before seed establishment
Secondary tillage (Harrowing) Animal

Tractor 2.00

12.80
After Ploughing
Liming
Broadcaster

34.40
Any period before ploughing
Fertilizing (Basal dressing)

Broadcaster
34.40

At or before seed establishment

Seed establishment (Planting)


Tractor ( 4 row planter)

Animal

12.80

1.50

15 October to 15 December




Crop maintenance (Weed control: Optional, chemically or mechanically)







Chemically
Spray boom

Knapsack sprayer


Mechanically

Animal

Tractor

20.80


1.50




0.80

4.80
Applied within 2 days after planting (Pre-emergence herbicide)




Done at 4th after planting
Fertilizing (Top dressing)

Vicon top dress

Human
32.00


1.50 Applied twice at 21 and 42 day after planting



Table 3: Sorghum Production Database

Operations Methods Work rate (ha/day) Set dates
Primary tillage
(Ploughing) Animal

Tractor 0.30

3.00 Any period before seed establishment
Secondary tillage (Harrowing) Animal

Tractor 2.00

12.80
After Ploughing
Liming
Broadcaster

34.40
Any period before ploughing
Fertilizing (Basal dressing)

Broadcaster
34.40

At or before seed establishment

Seed establishment (Planting)


Tractor (4 row planter)

Animal

12.80

1.50

15 October to 15 December




Crop maintenance (Weed control: Optional ,chemically or mechanically )







Chemically
Spray boom

Knapsack sprayer


Mechanically

Animal

Tractor

20.80


1.50




0.80

4.80
Applied within 2 days after planting (Pre-emergence herbicide)




Done at 4th after planting
Fertilizing (Top dressing)

Vicon top dress

Human
32.00


1.50 Applied twice at 21 and 42 day after planting



Table 4: Cotton Production database

Operation Methods Work rate (ha/day) Set dates
Destroy previous crops Tractor slashing 8.0


Liming Vicon pre-plant
Human 34.4

0.20
Before Ploughing
Primary tillage
(Ploughing) Tractor

Animal

3.0

0.3

Any time before seed establishment

Secondary tillage
(Leveling) Tractor

Animal

12.8

2.0


After Ploughing

Seed establishment
(Planting) Tractor (4 row planter)

Animal

13.6


1.7



15 October to 15 November

Crop maintenance (Weed control: Optional ,chemically or mechanically )







Chemically
Spray boom

Knapsack sprayer

Mechanically

Animal

Tractor


20.8

1.5




0.80

4.80

Within 2 days after planting (pre-emergence herbicide)



3 weeks after planting (mechanical weeding)
Thinning Human 0.10 4 weeks after planting

Top dressing Vicon top dress

Hand 32.0

1.50
Applied twice at 5th and 13th week after planting

4.2 The Agricultural Mechanization Model

Power Source Crop Enterprise
Operating Speed Implement / Equipment










The agricultural mechanization model developed is as shown above and is mathematically defined as:
EWR=WW*OS*FE where; EWR is the effective work rate in hectares per day, IW is the working width of implement in metres, OS is the operating speed in metres per second and FE is the field efficiency.

The developed model is a deterministic model whose physical systems are the farm power source and the crop enterprise. The control variables are the operating speed and working width of implements and equipment. The output of the model is the area that can be attained in a given time per crop commodity.

4.3 Work Scheduling
Scheduling was done over pure animal power based system, double animal power at selected operations and tractor power interventions. The table below is an illustrative example of how scheduling was done for cotton production with tractor power intervention at ploughing.

Set Conditions
Plough by tractor 2 days before planting.
Harrow by animals within a day after ploughing.
First day of Planting and basal dressing is on 15 October.
Pre-emergence herbicide application to be done within 2 days after planting.

Table 5: Work scheduling for cotton production using tractor power at ploughing.
Day Plough (ha/day) Harrow
(ha/day) Plant & Fertilize(Basal Dressing) (ha/day) Pre-emergence Herbicide Application (ha/day)
13
3

14
3 2

15 1
0.8

16 1.7

17 0.5
1.2

18 1.7

19
1.9
0.1
20
1.1 0.7

21 1.7

22
0.6 1.1

23 1.7

24 0.2

Area tilled in 12 days is 6 hectares, factoring in Chisi implies that 6 hectares were tilled for 13 days. This means that an average of 0.46 hectares per day can be attained, hence an area of 0.46ha/day*30days*0.75 =10.4ha/season can be attained under cotton production when tractor is used for ploughing operation.
Thus from the same approach the following results for wheat, maize, cotton and sorghum was found as shown in the following tables.





4.3.1 Wheat

Table 6: Results for wheat production

Animal Based System
Interventions Pure Animal System Double Animal at Ploughing Double Animal at Ploughing and Planting Tractor Intervention at Ploughing and Planting
Hectares 2.10 3.75 5.25 13.90
Multiple increase over pure animal system 1.00 1.79 2.50 6.62







4.3.2 Maize

Results for both use of pre-emergence herbicides and mechanical methods for weed control are as shown in tables 7 and 8.

Table 7: Results for maize production under use of pre-emergence herbicides

Animal Based System
Interventions Pure Animal System Double Animal at Ploughing Tractor Intervention at Ploughing
Hectares 7.80 12.60 20.70
Multiple increase over pure animal system 1.00 1.62 2.65


Table 8: Results for maize production under use of mechanical weed control

Animal Based System
Interventions Pure Animal System Double Animal at Ploughing Tractor Intervention at Ploughing
Hectares 8.90 17.00 31.70
Multiple increase over pure animal system 1.00 1.91 3.56




4.3.3 Cotton

Results for both use of pre-emergence herbicides and mechanical methods for weed control are as shown in tables 9 and 10.


Table 9: Results for cotton production under use of pre-emergence herbicides

Animal Based System
Interventions Pure Animal System Double Animal at Ploughing Tractor Intervention at Ploughing
Hectares 3.90 6.50 10.40
Multiple increase over pure animal system 1.00 1.67 2.67


Table 10: Results for cotton production under use of mechanical weed control

Animal Based System
Interventions Pure Animal System Double Animal at Ploughing Tractor Intervention at Ploughing
Hectares 4.40 8.60 16.90
Multiple increase over pure animal system 1.00 1.95 3.84


4.3.4 Sorghum

Results for both use of pre-emergence herbicides and mechanical methods for weed control are as shown in tables 11 and 12.

Table 11: Results for sorghum production under use of pre-emergence herbicides

Animal Based System
Interventions Pure Animal System Double Animal at Ploughing Tractor Intervention at Ploughing
Hectares 7.80 12.60 20.7
Multiple increase over pure animal system 1.00 1.62 2.65



Table 12: Results for sorghum production under use of mechanical weed control

Animal Based System
Interventions Pure Animal System Double Animal at Ploughing Tractor Intervention at Ploughing
Hectares 8.90 17.00 31.70
Multiple increase over pure animal system 1.00 1.91 3.56



5.0 DISCUSSION

5.1 Crop Production Information Databases

Tables 1, 2, 3 and 4 show the mechanization production information databases for wheat, maize, sorghum and cotton. From these tables, it can be seen that the above mentioned crops share nearly the same mechanization production information database although there are some slight differences if a closer analysis is taken.

The mechanization production information databases range from ploughing, harrowing, seed establishment, basal dressing, and crop maintenance up to top dressing.

The first operation for wheat, maize and sorghum is ploughing using either animal or tractor power.Ploughing is carried out towards the end of April for wheat production while for maize and sorghum towards the end of September up to early October. For cotton production, ploughing is the second operation, the first one being slashing the previous cotton stalks.Ploughing is carried out from end September up to early October as is the case with maize and sorghum production.

Ploughing work rates in hectares per day for animal and tractor power are 0.3 and 3.0 respectively. Tractor power is ten times faster than animal power at ploughing. The difference is explained from the developed agricultural mechanization model which states that the work rate of any farm power at any production operation is a function of the operating speed, implement cutting width and field efficiency. Thus for tractor power, all these variables are far much greater than the corresponding animal power parameters. The operating speed of a tractor at ploughing is 1.5 metres per second while for animal power is 1.0 metres per second. The implement cutting widths for tractor and animal power are 1.0 and 0.2 metres respectively. Tractor and animal power field efficiencies are 80% and 75% respectively. The recommended operating hours per day for both tractor and animal power are eight and six respectively. Hence the outlined facts and reasons help to explain the great difference between tractor and animal power output at ploughing.

Ploughing operation is independent of the crop commodities to be under production, thus why the previously discussed facts and reasons still hold under wheat, maize, sorghum and cotton production.

Harrowing is the second mechanization production operation for wheat, maize and sorghum and the third for cotton production. The recommended conditions as when to carry out the operation are as shown in tables 1, 2, 3 and 4.Harrowing by animals and tractor power results in an output of 2.0 and 12.8 hectares per day. Thus tractor power is 6.4 times faster at harrowing than animal power. The difference in work rates is also explained by the fact that farm power work rates are a function of the operating speed, implement cutting width and field efficiency. Animal and tractor power operating speed are 1.0 and 2.0 metres per second respectively. Implement cutting widths are 3.0 and 1.0 metres and field efficiencies of 80% and 75% for tractor and animal powers respectively. The recommended operating hours per day are six and eight for animal and tractor power, thus why tractor power is far much greater than animal power at harrowing. The above facts still hold for all the crop enterprises under consideration because harrowing is an operation that is independent of the type of crop enterprise under production.

Planting (seed establishment) and basal dressing follows soon after harrowing. The conditions and dates of carrying out this operation are shown in tables 1, 2, 3 and 4.Planting and basal dressing is dependent on the type of crop under production unlike ploughing and harrowing. From tables 1, 2, 3 and 4 it can be seen that there are variations in planting and basal dressing work rates for the same farm power source for the crops under consideration. This is because planting and basal dressing operations are a function of crop interrow spacing of which this is a function of the crop under production. The larger the interrow spacing the larger the planting and basal dressing work rates and the vice versa is true. This is why wheat with the smallest interrow spacing of 20 to 25 centimetres has also the smallest work rate of 0.4 hectares per day. Cotton has an interrow spacing of one metre and an animal power work rate of 1.7 metres.

Crop maintenance in this regard involves weed control and this is either carried out by use of chemical or mechanical means. Chemical weed control is the only option available for wheat production in which some post-emergence herbicides are used. For maize, sorghum and cotton production pre-emergence herbicides are used and also mechanical means such as use of animal and tractor drawn cultivators. The conditions of crop maintenance operation under each crop enterprise are shown in tables 1, 2, 3 and 4. It can be seen that this operation is dependent on the type of crop under production since its work rate is affected by the crop interrow spacing. The difference between animal and tractor power work rates is explained by the variable parameters of the agricultural mechanization model and by the maximum permissible hours of operating per each farm power source.

The last operation is top dressing, its conditions on each of the crops have highlighted in tables 1, 2, 3 and 4.This operation is also dependent on the type of crop enterprise as is the case with planting and basal dressing and crop maintenance. The farm power sources available for this operation are human and tractor (motorized), there is no known animal mechanization which can apply top dressing fertilizers.

5.2 The Agricultural Mechanization Model

The model was used to determine the work rates of agricultural implements and equipment at selected production operations for both animal and tractor power. The model consists of three input variables namely operating speed, implement cutting width and field efficiency. The output of the model is the work rate of implements and equipment at selected production operations.

The operating speed is a function of the type farm power used, if using animal power it was found that the working speed on all operations was one metre per second (1m/s) and when using tractor power, the working speed varies from 1.5 to 2.5 metres per second depending on the draught requirement on each operation. Hence change in farm power results in change in the work rate.

The implement cutting width is a function of the type of crop enterprise under production especially when considering all operations carried out after harrowing. The crop interrow spacing determines the implement and equipment working width to be used. The greater the crop interrow spacing the greater the implement and equipment working width and hence the greater the work rate.

Field efficiency is a function of the type of farm power used, field geometry (length and shape regularity), operator experience and type of operation under consideration. Animal power is associated with low field efficiency as compared to tractor power because tractors are easy to control for example at turning, tractors can carry larger seed hoppers and spray tanks as compared to animal power and this means that time for re-filling is lower for tractors than for animals.

Field length also contributes to the field efficiency, if the field is short a lot of time will be spend for turning animals or tractors and this reduces operating time.

Operator experience directly affects the field efficiency. If the operator is experienced in his or her work, chances of leaving out bangs too much overlapping will be reduced and hence this increases the field efficiency.

Operations like harrowing, spraying and cultivation are associated with overlapping which in turn contributes to lower field efficiency of about 70 %.


5.3 Work Scheduling

Table 5 shows the seasonal hectares that can be attained under the adoption of the given four options for wheat production. The farmer is assured of 2.1 hectares under the use of pure animal power, 3.75 hectares if an auxiliary span is hired at ploughing only ,5.25 hectares if double animal power are used at ploughing and planting and finally 13.9 hectares if tractor power is used at ploughing and planting.

Interventions were carried out at ploughing and planting only because these operations have the smallest work rates as compared to all other remaining operations.Ploughing and planting were limiting operations in terms of attaining greatest possible area under what production. Out of all the crops considered in this study, wheat production has the smallest area under production. This is because its season is the shortest of them all with only 15 days of production.

Results for maize production are as shown in tables 6 and 7.Table 6 shows the attainable areas when pre-emergence herbicides are used as opposed to mechanical weed control as is the case with results is table 7.

From table 6, it can seen that the maximum areas attainable for the 60 days of maize production when using pure animal power is 7.80, when using double animal power at ploughing only is 12.6 and when using a tractor at ploughing only is 20.7 hectares. Interventions were carried out at ploughing because ploughing had the smallest work rate which acted as a limiting factor as far as obtaining maximum area was concerned.

From table 7, the maximum areas attainable for the 60 days of maize production when using pure animal power is 8.9, if an auxiliary span is used at ploughing only is 17.0 and if tractor power was used to plough only is 31.7 hectares.

The differences between the areas attained under use of chemical and mechanical weed control is due to the fact that when using pre-emergence herbicides a lot of days are set aside for the application of the chemicals and this reduces the available days for carrying out other operations. With mechanical weeding that is carried out three weeks after planting few days are set aside for this and much of the days for carrying out the operation are scheduled after the 60 days of production ,hence a lot of days are available for production.

Results for cotton production are as shown in tables 8 and 9, table 8 shows the results attainable under use of pre-emergence herbicides and table 9 results when using mechanical weed control.

From table 8, areas of 3.9, 6.5 and 10.4 hectares can be attained when using pure animal power, double animal power and tractor power respectively.

From table 9, areas of 4.4, 8.6 and 16.9 can be attained when using pure animal power, double animal power and tractor power at ploughing respectively.

The differences between the areas attained under use of chemical and mechanical weed control is due to the fact that when using pre-emergence herbicides a lot of days are set aside for the application of the chemicals and this reduces the available days for carrying out other operations. With mechanical weeding that is carried out three weeks after planting few days are set aside for this and much of the days for carrying out the operation are scheduled after the 30 days of production ,hence a lot of days are available for production.

Results for sorghum production are as shown in tables 10 and 11.Table 10 shows the attainable areas when pre-emergence herbicides are used as opposed to mechanical weed control as is the case with results is table 11

From table 10, it can seen that the maximum areas attainable for the 60 days of sorghum production when using pure animal power is 7.80, when using double animal power at ploughing only is 12.6 and when using a tractor at ploughing only is 20.7 hectares. Interventions were carried out at ploughing because ploughing had the smallest work rate which acted as a limiting factor as far as obtaining maximum area was concerned.

From table 11, the maximum areas attainable for the 60 days of sorghum production when using pure animal power is 8.9, if an auxiliary span is used at ploughing only is 17.0 and if tractor power was used to plough only is 31.7 hectares.

The differences between the areas attained under use of chemical and mechanical weed control is due to the fact that when using pre-emergence herbicides a lot of days are set aside for the application of the chemicals and this reduces the available days for carrying out other operations. With mechanical weeding that is carried out three weeks after planting few days are set aside for this and much of the days for carrying out the operation are scheduled after the 60 days of production ,hence a lot of days are available for production.

A close look at the areas obtained under each crop shows that the crops with the greatest area are maize and sorghum followed by cotton and finally wheat. This could be explained by the fact maize and sorghum has the largest production season of 60 days, followed by cotton with 30 days and finally wheat with only 15 days. These production seasons were deduced from the allowable planting dates of each crop from the crop production databases. From this observation it was found that the maximum possible area attained under each crop was dependent on the crop type.











6.0 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Based on the results of this study, the following conclusions can be drawn: The agricultural mechanization model for crop enterprises can be described using a mathematical relationship which includes parameters such as operating speed, implement cutting width and field efficiency. Thus the model is a function of the above mentioned parameters, hence to develop the model one needs to determine the above mentioned parameters by compiling production information databases for the crops under consideration. From work scheduling, maize and sorghum have the greatest attainable seasonal areas of 20.7 and 31.7 hectares when pre-emergence herbicides and mechanical means were used for weed control respectively. Cotton yielded a seasonal area of 10.4 and 16.9 hectares when pre-emergence herbicides and mechanical means of weed control were used respectively. Wheat had the smallest seasonal area of 13.9 hectares. Thus from the observations it can be safely concluded that the seasonal area attainable per crop per season is dependent on the type of crop enterprise under consideration.

Based on the results of the study the following recommendations can be made: Model A1 and small scale communal farmers can increase their area under production by using either double animal or tractor power interventions at selected operations such as ploughing and planting for wheat production and ploughing only for maize, sorghum and cotton production. Interventions either by auxiliary animal power or tractor power should be carried out on operations with smaller work rates since this will have a great impact on the size of area attained. Most conveniently, farmers are recommended to use power at ploughing and planting for wheat production and ploughing only for maize, sorghum and cotton production.

Farmers are also recommended to use mechanical weed control methods or post –emergence herbicides as opposed to pre-emergence herbicides for maize, sorghum and cotton production in order to maximize area under production.

The government through the District Development Fund (DDF) tillage scheme should allocate adequate tractors to model A1 and small scale communal farmers to carry out ploughing and planting for wheat and ploughing only for maize, cotton and sorghum production. The tractor distribution should be done timorously to avoid delays in tillage operations.

The government is kindly requested to adopt and use the agricultural mechanization model as an agricultural strategy in order to boost production since in Zimbabwe land is no longer a limiting factor as far as crop production is concerned.

Agricultural implements and equipment manufacturers are strongly recommended to start on massive researches on the development of high work rates implements that can be used on operations like ploughing which tends to be a limiting operation in terms of boosting area under production

















7.0 REFERENCES

1 Jaeger, W.K., 1986. The Economics of Animal Draught in West Africa..
2 ART Winter Report, 1997. Agricultural Research Trust Publication.
3 Gifford, R.C., 1992.Mechanization Strategy Formulation Concepts and Principles.
4 Pellizzi, G., 1988. Energy Savings in Agricultural Machinery and Mechanization.
5 Reinhard, A. K., 1976.Agricultural Mechanization: Costs and Profitability.
6 Peter, C., 1989. Small Farm Mechanization for Developing Countries.
7 Theodore, B., 1984. Mechanization and Agricultural Development
8 Joachim, E., 1978. Appropriate Mechanization for Small Farmers in Developing Countries
9 Constance, G., 1988. Mechanization and Maize: Agriculture and the Politics of Technology Transfer in East Africa.
10 William, J., 1979. Modern Farm Power.
































kevin89
Starting Member

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2009 :  18:55:13  Show Profile  Edit Reply  Reply with Quote  View user's IP address  Delete Reply
It's amazing.How do you do like this.
Its really very good idea.I really like it dear.
Thanks for sharing it..Its really very useful.
Thanks again.
Good job dear Very good.


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