Land preparation







Types of farm power







Describe and determine the different types of farm power.






Farm power is one of the most expensive and critical inputs when growing a rice crop.  


Humans, animals and machines are all used as sources of power in agriculture production. When undertaking different operations on a farm, a certain amount of work is required to complete the task.


When this work is undertaken over time, it is then called power. Power or the rate of doing work can be expressed as horsepower or Kilowatt. One horsepower is equivalent to 0.75 Kilowatt.


In the past much of the power used on farm came from human inputs but with much of the rural labor force now moved to cities, farmers are becoming more dependant on machines to complete tillage, planting and harvesting operations.


1. Human Power


Many jobs on the farm are still undertaken using man as the power source. Tasks undertaken include:

  • Land preparation (plowing, soil leveling, constructing bunds and drains)

  • Plant establishment

  • Pests control

  • Crops harvesting and transporting

  • Grain processing.


In some instances manual labor is still more efficient than machine. Many countries are now suffering from rural labor shortages and have had to develop and use machines to complete tasks on time.  One man is capable of shifting between 2-3m3 soil per day. In tillage terms that is equivalent to ploughing or tilling about 60m2 per day or it would take approximately 160 person-days to till 1 ha.


2. Animal power


Animals are still widely used as the major power source in many countries. Land preparation, weed management, crop threshing and transport are undertaken using animal power. Oxen and caribou or buffalo are the most popular animal power source for agricultural practices although horses, donkeys, mules and camels are used in many countries for transportation.


The advantages of using animals include:

Cheap to maintain

Multi purpose use for meat and milk,

Self-replacement and

Manure production


Disadvantage of using animals include:

Animals have limited daily working hours

Animals need feeding and protection against pests and disease.


High man/power ratio

Limited range of working conditions

Animals require training


One animal takes 7-8 days to plough 1 hectare and cost up to $US 500 each.


3. Engine powered tractors


There are 3 broad groups of engine powered tractors used for rice production in Asia. These are 2 wheel tractors, 4 wheel tractors and track laying tractors.  


Tractors are often the most expensive, sophisticated and potentially dangerous piece of equipment on a farm. Tractor operators must be familiar with the location and understand the operation of each control lever or button before attempting to start the tractor.





























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This lesson ends this module on land preparation. The next module talks about planting the rice.