Hand tractor operation easier by attaching ride-on implement

A hand tractor operator’s burden and back stress are eased when ride-on implement is attached to the machine.  Experts said the implement makes land preparation easier and efficient and trims down risks to the farmer from hazardous and disease-carrying materials in the paddy fields.

Hand tractor operation is tedious.  A farmer must walk 20 kilometers to double-disc plow and 24 kilometers to harrow one hectare of paddy field in two days. Guiding and turning the tractor is even more tiresome.

Aside from this, some paddy fields pose hazards and diseases like leptospirosis. This happens when the fields are littered with hard objects like crushed shells of golden apple snails, undecomposed organic materials, rat urine, and other toxic compounds. 

Researchers at the Philippine Rice Research Institute or PhilRice led by Engr. Bernard D. Tadeo developed ride-on implement assemblies to provide the operator comfort and safety in land preparation. These implements are seat assembly, double-disc plow attachment, and harrow-leveler and control. The Japanese 4WT’s seat design was adopted.

Hiroyuki Monobe, an expert from Japan International Cooperation Agency provided technical support and consultancy in the project implementation.  On the other hand, Val Machine Shop’s Roman Lugto cooperated with PhilRice in fabricating the implement.

Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources Research and Development reports indicate results of the field performance and comfort assessment tests on the ride-on hand tractor implements.  Prototypes were used for one week during dry season land preparation of PhilRice central experiment station, and wet season land preparation of Maragol Village cooperating farmers and operators in Nueva Ecija.

According to the researchers, the force required in pulling the ride-on plow and operator is 145.15 kilograms. With this pulling force, a hand tractor traveling at 2.95 kilometers per hour requires an output power of 1.6 horsepower (hp). To power this system, an 8-hp engine is more than enough because its available output is 2.67 hp.

The riding and walking operator-hand tractor systems plowed 1.36 and 1.12 hectares per day, respectively.  This means that the former has a work rate advantage of 21 percent over the latter.  Cutting depth, cutting width, and field efficiency were 9 centimeters (cm), 70.8 cm, and 81 percent, respectively.

The riding operator in the harrow-leveler increased working speed 36 percent higher than the walking operator, which suggests that the operator can increase his working capacity by one-third at a faster speed.

Moreover, the researchers measured the operators’ heart rate to determine the physiological stress caused by workload.  The walking operator had an elevated heart rate of 10 pulse beats per minute while blood pressure increased by more than 10 millimeters Hg.  This means that a riding operator is less likely to develop heart complications caused by work stress. He is also safer because hazards, while walking in deep mud, were avoided.

Val Machine Shop located in Guimba, Nueva Ecija currently manufactures the ride-on implements.  Shop owner Roman Lugto is the manufacturer-partner of PhilRice for the project.  They call the implement assembly as “riding disc plow with harrow.”

Lugto said his workers performed several tests to perfect the design, which was released recently.  Seven units of the implement have been acquired by farmers in Sta. Barbara, Bani, and Manaog, Pangasinan and farmers from Tarlac, Tarlac, and Licab, Nueva Ecija.  PhilRice is getting six units for field demonstrations.  Lugto sells the “riding disc plow with harrow” at P7,000 to P8,000.

[For more information, please contact Engr. Bernard D. Tadeo at tel. no. (044) 456-0113 or Roman Lugto at tel. nos. (044) 611-3394, 611-0360.]

 

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