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Sources of Farm Power

Various types of agricultural operations on a farm can be broadly classified as

  • Tractive work such as seed bed preparation, cultivation, harvesting and transportation
  • Stationary work like silage cutting, feed grinding, threshing, winnowing and lifting of irrigation water. These operations are done by different sources of power, namely human, animal, oil, tractor, electricity and wind.

 Human Power

Human power is the main source of power for operating small tools and implements. They are also employed for doing stationary work like threshing, winnowing, chaff cutting and lifting irrigation water. On an average a man develops nearly 0.1 horse power (hp).

Animal Power

The most important source of power on the farm all over the world is animal. It is estimated that nearly 80% of the total draft power used in agriculture throughout the world is still provided by animals. Animals like bullocks and buffaloes happen to the principle sources of animal power. Camels, horses, donkeys, mules and elephants are also used in farm work. The average force a bullock can exert is nearly equal to one tenth of its body weight. A medium size bullock can develop between 0.50 to 0.75 hp.

Mechanical Power

The third important source of farm power is mechanical power that is available through tractors and oil engines. The oil engine is a highly efficient device for converting fuel into useful work. The efficiency of diesel engine varies between 32 to 38 per cent. Diesel engines of larger size are used on tractors.

Electrical Power

Electrical power has become a very important source of power on farms. The largest use of electric power in the rural areas is for irrigation and domestic water supply. Use of electricity in dairy industry, cold storage, fruit processing and cattle feed grinding has tremendously increased.

Wind Power

The availability of wind power for farm work is quote limited. Where the wind velocity is more than 32 km/hr, wind mills can be used for lifting water. A wind mill having 3.6 m diameter wheel mounted on 12.0 m tower is able to produce from 0.1 to 0.9 hp with the wind velocity varying from 6.4 to 37 kmph. Thus the average capacity of a wind mill would be above 0.5 hp.