Hand And Animal-Drawn Implements (Definition And Examples)


Animal power is still a very important factor in farm operations in many parts of West Africa and many implements such as ploughs, ridgers, seeders and weeders have been specifically designed to be drawn by oxen. The rise in the cost of fuel oils has made the use of animal-drawn cultivation implements more attractive, in some areas, than the use of tractor power.

Animal power can only be used successfully in areas which are free of the tsetse fly, which carries trypanosomiasis, and other endemic animal diseases. Animal drawn implements are also most efficiently used in areas where the soils are relatively light and on fairly level land. Secondary growth, weed or heavy trash Cover can reduce the efficiency of ox-drawn equipment and it is only feasible to introduce this type of equipment into areas where either skilled operators exist and where training facilities for ox teams are adequate. The provision of sufficient land and pasture for grazing the animals is also an important consideration when ox-drawn cultivation implements are being introduced for the first time.

Ox Ploughs,
The mouldboards type of plough is sometimes used for primary cultivation and several designs which are suitable for ox-drawn equipment have become
increasingly used in many parts of Africa in recent years. These ploughs are simple in construction and may often be set and adjusted by using one size of spanner. It is more usual, however, to use an Epcot type of ridger, where soil breaking and ridging is done in one operation.

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In areas where crops are cultivated on ridges, such as the northern savanna zones, these can be made by using a ridging plough which is basically two mouldboards ploughs fitted together so that the two units have one common point.

All hand tools, particularly those with metal parts, should always be carefully cleaned after use. A small piece of wood or flattened stone can be used to scrape away surplus soil, after which a coating of oil should be applied to all metal surfaces to avoid rusting. This precaution is particularly important during the wet season. All tools which have a cutting edge should be regularly sharpened, using either a sharpening stone of local materials or a file. The handles of hoes, pickaxes and mattocks often require replacement and they
should be regularly checked to ensure that the blades or heads are secure; this is a normal safety precaution.

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