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.

Equipment Database

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.

Literature about CA Equipment

2-Wheel Tractor Newsletter

• Jeff Esdaile's Two-Wheel Tractor Newsletter (Australia):

2011 [• July]  [• Oct.]  [• Dec.]
2012 [• Jan./Feb.]  [• March]  [• May] [ • June ] [• July ] [• Aug. ] [• Sept. ] [• Oct. ] [• Nov. ]
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Videos about CA Equipment

Photos about CA Equipment

    2-Wheel Tractors

Click here to see the 2-Wheel tractor photo gallery

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.


    4-Wheel Tractors

Click here to see the 4-Wheel tractor photo gallery

Four-wheel tractors are often the preferred farm power source if they are available and affordable. Although, in many poorer, developing countries a service provider, contract system does enable resource poor farmers to also avail of CA technology. This section shows some of the several designs that are available in different parts of the World, from the expensive and heavy equipment available in developed countries to equipment developed for much smaller horsepower tractors in China. The choice of equipment is closely linked to the method of harvest and how much loose residue is left after harvest of the previous crop.


    Animal Power

Click here to see the animal power photo gallery

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.


    Manual Systems

Click here to see the manual systems photo gallery

Many farmers in developing countries do not have tractors or animals to help them plow, let alone plant seeds. However, there has been work to develop simple machinery like the "matracha" shown in these photographs. They even have a system that separates seed and fertilizer so they can be applied at the same date of planting. In some cases, as mentioned above, a furrow can be opened with an animal powered chisel or sub-soiler, and the farmers plants seed and applies basal fertilizer by hand.


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