Farm machinery and power

Farm machinery and power: Human, animal, diesel engine, electric motor, tractor and power tiller are the major power sources for field operations in agriculture. Animate (human beings and animals) power contributed 60% of the total farm machinery and power in 1971-72, and mechanical and electrical together contributed balance 40%. In 2005-06, the contribution from animate power reduced to 13.79%, and the share of mechanical and electrical power increased to 86.21%.

Farm machinery and power

Farm machinery and power

Human power

Human power has been extensively used in Indian agriculture. Digging, clod breaking, sowing, inter-culture, harvesting, threshing, cleaning and grading operations are still performed by human power using traditional tools and implements. The agricultural workers comprise small cultivators and agricultural labourers.

The agricultural workers population in India has increased from 125.7 million in 1971 to 246.44 million in 2005-06, registering a growth of about 2.5% per annum. Of the total agricultural workers, 30% are women. The human power availability has increased from 6.29 million kW in 1970-71 to 13.02 million kW in 2005-06.

The net compound effect of the human energy input per ha, computed on weighed energy use basis by combining all crops, has reduced. Post-harvest and processing activities in these sectors are also highly labour intensive and provide additional employment.

Draught animal power

Traditionally, draught animals have been used in India for field operations, transport and agro-processing. The total draught animal population is estimated about 72 million in 2005-06. It is estimated that more than 57% area is commanded by draught animals, with 2.5 ha command area per animal pair.

Field operations in hill regions, Diara land and Taj land, are normally performed only by human and animal power due to difficult terrain. Though draught animal power has potential to generate yearly 27,000 million kWh energy (1,500 working hr/year), its use has been limited to 10,800 million kWh (600 working hr/year). The animals are used for seedbed preparation, sowing, inter-culture, irrigation, threshing and transportation.

The use of draught animals, however, has gradually declined from 182 to 58 animal-pairs/ha on all India average basis. This is due to availability of electro-mechanical power and increased upkeep cost for the draught animals. Spatial distributions of draught population showed that it has shown positive growth in western and eastern states.

In rest of the states, draught animal population registered negative growth. These regions have high draught animal intensity. Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana and Kerala have lower intensity (5-16.5 ha/pair). These states may have more demand of mechanical power to supplement the farm machinery and power needs.

EIectro farm machinery and power

With increased cropping intensity, farmers have supplemented animate power with tractors, power tillers, diesel engines and electric motors. The tractors in India were introduced through importation. The production of tractors locally (assembly of CKD units) was started in 1961-62 with 880 numbers.

While approving foreign collaboration, Government of India made it mandatory that a tractor to be manufactured should be tested under laboratory and field conditions to ensure that they are suitable to Indian conditions.

To improve the quality of tractors, the Government of India fixed norms of specific fuel consumption, noise, Vibration, exhaust emission levels, ergonomics and safety measures. The Government of India has also allowed foreign companies to manufacture tractors for increasing farm machinery and power. There were only 8,635 imported tractors in use in 1951. More than 346,000 tractors are manufactured every year by 14 leading manufactures in 2007-08. The total estimated number is 3 .82 m11110n (2005-06) contributing 99.67 MkW.

Mostly small-size general-purpose tracters are manufactured in India, ranging from 15 kW to 37.5 kW (70%). Custom hiring of tractors has become popular for tillage, transport and threshing. Financial incentive from the government and institutional credit provided by the banks has helped the farmers in adaptation of the tractors though size of the land-holdlngs small.

The growth of tractor number in the country has not been uniform. Sale of tractors in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, anel Andha Pradesh is higher. These states account for 75% of the tractor sale in Indla.

Farm machinery and power for stationary operations

Animal power has been extensively used in India for stationary operations like lifting water, threshing, sugarcane crushing, oil expelling etc. Major water resources in India for irrigation are rivers, lakes, canal, reservoirs, tanks and groundwater. Use of centrifugal pump has considerably increased for lifting water from dug well or a shallow tubewell. The sale of electric operated pump was 768,700 and diesel engine operated pump 460,800 in 2006-07.

The total irigation pumps population is estimated 19.30 million (2005-06). Farmers do not bother to take measures for energy conservation due to highly subsidised cost of enegy. Proper selection of pump with appropriate size of prime mover, suction and delivery pipes and regular maintenance can increase the efficiency. Such correct selection would not only salvage the farmer from his avoidable yearly financial loss but would also save the nation a few hundred crores worth of energy through savings in diesel oil and electricity.

Farm machinery and power indicator

This indicator is one of the measures of modernization of agriculture of a country. Use of unit farm power or energy in agriculture was adopted as one of the measures for expressing mechanization indicator. The total farm machinery and power in India has increased to 211.5 million kW in 2005-06, which is 1.5 kW/ha on net cropped area basis. This is very low to increase the crop productivity compared With the average farm-power intensity available in Punjab, i.e. 3.5 kW/ha.

The ratio of mechanical power over total farm power has also been considered to estimate the level of mechanization. The ratio of mechanical tractive power to total farm power has increased. These measures, however, do not account actual use of “farm machinery and power” in the field, and therefore energy consumption has been considered as better measure.


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