Equipment for Conservation Agriculture
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One of the major constraints to adoption of conservation agriculture is the availability of suitable equipment at a price affordable by farmers. This would be the same whether CA is done manually, animal or tractor powered. The key to convincing farmers that CA is a worthwhile practice to adopt is to promote and provide equipment that farmers can use to experiment with that also does a good job of seed placement (and fertilizer if possible) into the permanent soil cover so germination is good while at the same time soil disturbance is minimized.
Most of the early equipment for zero-till in developing countries relied on heavy equipment requiring large horsepower tractors that were often based on some form of single or double disk soil opener. Some of this machinery is shown below, but this web page also shows alternative systems that require less tractor power and can be used manually, with animal power, or lower horsepower 2 and 4-wheel tractors. The development of machinery is easier if the harvest of the previous crop is done manually since loose residue are not present to clog the equipment if fixed tyne openers are used. There is a lot of energy going into development of better and more efficient machinery in many different parts of the world. This section of the web page is designed to show some efforts that will help stimulate more research and development in the future.
Visit the FAO Sustainable Agriculture Mechanization website to access the equipment and manufacturers database. You can search by type of equipment (residue management, sprayer, seeder-planter, and ripper with attachment), model, and company name, and country.
- Sims, B. G. J. Kienzle, and M. Hilmi, M. 2016. Agricultural mechanization. A key input for sub-Saharan African smallholders. FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin. (also available in French). 44 P.
- Conservation Farming Unit. 2009. A guide for farmers: Conversion from ox ploughing to min-till ripping using the magoye ripper. Zambia. Page 1-13.
- Sims, Brian G. 2011. Some advances in mechanization options for Conservation Agriculture systems: reflections from the V World Congress of Conservation Agriculture, Brisbane, Australia, September 2011. IAgrE website. (10 p. pdf)
- 2011. Small Tractors Lead to Surplus Crops: USAID's two-wheel tractors increase farm efficiency and create greater prosperity for Afghan farmers. USAID Afghanistan website. February 28.
Kapil, Kamboj, B.R., Jat, M.L., Kumar, A., Kumar, D., Sidhu, H.S., Gathala, M.K., Saharawat, Y.S., Kumar, V. 2012. Operational manual for multi-crop zero till planter. 20 pages. New Delhi (India). CIMMYT. CSISA. IRRI.
Krupnik, T.J., Santos Valle, S., McDonald, A., Justice, S., Hossain, I., Gathala, M.K. 2013. Made in Bangladesh: Scale-appropriate machinery for agricultural resource conservation. 126 pages. Mexico, DF (Mexico). CIMMYT.
• Jeff Esdaile's Two-Wheel Tractor Newsletter (Australia):2011 [• July] [• Oct.] [• Dec.]
2012 [• Jan./Feb.] [• March] [• May] [ • June ] [• July ] [• Aug. ] [• Sept. ] [• Oct. ] [• Nov. ]
2013 [• Jan.] [• Feb.] [• March] [• April] [• May] [• July ] [• Aug. ] [• Oct. ] [• Nov. ] [• Dec. ]
2014 [• Feb.] [• March] [• May] [• June] [• August] [•Sept.][• Oct.] [• Dec.]
2015 [• Jan/Feb.] [• March] [• May] [• June/July] [• August]
- See our Playlist of over 20 videos featuring CA equipment from around the world.
|Two-wheel tractors are ideal tractor power for farmers that have small plot sizes as in many developing countries. However, for them to be affordable, there is a need for an array of accessories that can be used by the tractor to provide multiple functions. Some of the photos on the left show some of these accessories that can enable farmers to plow, puddle, sow no-till, reap, thresh, transport, pump etc. The Chinese hand tractor has become popular in South Asian countries because of its cheap price, available spare parts and many good attachments.|
|There are a few designs available for equipment suitable for animal power systems. This is a major way farmers plow land in many developing countries of the World. Because of the power involved in pulling a no-till seeder through the soil without plowing, these are often single row systems, although some designs use 2 or more rows. In some designs, the system uses a sub-soiler or chisel to break a plow pan, leaving a furrow to either hand sow seed and apply fertilizer. Or a seed box and fertilizer can be attached to do this in one pass.|