The history of agriculture is as old as human
civilization. Farming is the way of life for major portion of the population in India even
today. But in recent years the younger generation is moving away from their farms. Cultivation
and production of food grain has come down. Shortage of farm labour is one of the major
problems of Indian agriculture. This has opened the door for farm mechanization. These machines
imported from developed countries may not suit fully to our farm conditions. But it
is the ray of hope of our farmers. Farm mechanization will bring down the cost of production in
long run and improve the efficiency of farming. Hence it can improve the profitability and
sustainability of Indian agriculture. We have visualized successful farm equipment from
reputed companies like Oleomac, Agrimate, and Stihl etc. We will explain both positive
and negative aspects of each machine. Rotary tiller, different types of sprayers, mist
blower, chain saws, pole pruners, Bio-shredder, earth auger, high pressure washer, garden
equipment etc. are the machineries shown in this documentary film.
We have tractors and regular tillers for big farms. But this mini tiller is developed and
designed for kitchen gardens; inter cultivation between narrow rows and around the tree base.
No doubt it is less efficient compared to conventional tillers. But it is most suitable
for these specific works. Though there are many brands Oleomac rotary tiller is most
popular. Petrol models are more common than diesel mini tillers.
This Oleomac rotary tiller runs with Honda 4 stroke petrol engine. It has only one gear
for forward movement. Front small wheel is useful for shifting the tiller from block
to block. It is kept folded upwards in operation. The rotor has 3 sets of tilling blades on
either side which enables tilling for 2.5 feet width. Depth of tilling is 1.5 to 2 inches
depending on the soil condition. Hence it is more suitable for inter-cultivation, weeding
and fine tilling of top soil than original tilling work. That is why it is known as power
weeder also. Chain cover is strong enough to protect the chain from hitting stones in
operation. Height of the handle can be adjusted to comfortable position for the operator.
There is a provision to attach a small trailer also.
Off course there are some limitations for this tiny machine. It is not suitable for
soil with stones, thick surface roots and soil without enough moisture. However it can
be used effectively for inter-cultivation between narrow rows, mixing manures in to
the soil and many more purposes. Apart from this, the engine power can be used to run
a small generator for domestic electricity supply. We can attach a big water pump for
lifting water from open wells or tanks. One can run bio-shredder with the help of pulley
and belt. We can use this as a power sprayer by attaching HTP pump to this engine. Power
of this engine may be used to run grinder, mini mills for flour, dhal or oil for domestic
purpose. Hence this rotary tiller is a multipurpose machine for our farmers. Many state governments
provide subsidy for this mini tiller. Agrimart sells this Oleomac rotary tiller across India.
Cutting trees is one of the important works of rural life. Conventional manual saw needs
two people to operate. Mechanized chain saw is the best alternative for this laborious
and tricky job. Chain Saws of many brands are available in the open market. However
Stihl, a German MNC is word�s no.1 in chain saw. Oleomac chain saws are also very popular
and dependable. Government subsidy is available for this machine under few schemes in many
states. But this equipment is costly for an individual small farmer at full cost. However
one chain saw is sufficient for 4 to 5 farmers. Sawing is very fast and easy with this chain
saw compared to manual saws. Vibration is also less. It runs with 2 to 3 HP 2 stroke
petrol engine. It weighs around 4 to 5 kilograms depending on make and model. Hence it is not
so heavy for the operator in operation. Clean the air filter once in a while if the work
is continuous. The saw chain gets lubricated automatically. Hence be sure of proper oil
level before starting the work. The metal bar on which the chain runs is thin but strong
enough to sustain pressure while sawing. Sharpen the tooth of the saw chain after continuous
work only with the file supplied by the manufacturer of the machine.
The operator should know the traditional tricks of felling tree in the desired direction.
Otherwise it may damage the chain saw and the operator. It is necessary to have the
traditional knowledge of cutting the fallen tree also. Otherwise the chain bar may get
locked in the cleft. If the operator knows these tricks sawing is very easy with this
chain saw. However it is difficult to cut trees with very high diameter with this machine.
Apart from these big chain saws small- handy chain saws are also available. Operator can
run this chain saw with single hand and prune the branches like this. Electric chain saws
are also available. These are useful for the work in home yards. No doubt these chain saws
made the work of cutting trees easy unlike ever before. The manufacturers of these outdoor
power tools recommend safety wearing like helmet, ear pad, eye glass and hand gloves.
Even though farmers may not use all these, taking enough precaution while using these
power tools is quite essential. These chain saws are available with the distributors of
the respective companies. Coffee, tea and cardamom plantations maintain
tall growing trees for partial shade. It is necessary to prune the branches once or twice
a year for the regulation of shade. It is difficult to use ladders in this undulating
terrain. Mechanized pole pruners from Stihl and Oleomac companies are quite useful for
this pruning work. Working of this pole pruner is similar to the chain saw. Cutting chain
bar can be adjusted in 5 different angles to suit the situation. This telescopic aluminium
pole with safe locking system will reach the cutting bar to 10 to 15 feet height depending
on the make and the model. This entire machine weighs just 6 to 7 kilograms and hence one
can operate comfortably by holding like this. The main limitation of this pole pruner is
the reach of height. We can use it up to 10 to 15 feet from the ground. Both hands are
necessary to operate this. Hence operator can not work standing on the ladder. Again
the labour has to climb the tree to prune the upper branches with sickle. Manual pole
pruners are available with the same companies which will go up to 20 to 25 feet height.
These are very systematic and sharp compared to local implements. But the cost of the manual
pole pruner is high for a farmer. However these pole pruners are quite helpful for teak
and other agro forestry plantations with large number of trees.
Digging pits for pendal or fence posts is a routine work on the farms. Opening large
number of shallow pits is necessary in tea, coffee and forest plantations. Earth augers
of Stihl, Oleomac and other companies are useful for these purposes. Single man operated
small machines and two men operated heavy duty earth augers are available. This machine
runs with 2 HP petrol engine. We can use the auger bits of 6 to 8 inches diameter for this
machine. This earth auger has its limitations. It will not dig hole properly in the soil
with lot of stones and roots and also in dry soils. We have to use big earth auger for
bigger pits. However this earth auger is quite useful in the rainy season in tea, coffee
and forest plantations. This machine can reduce pressure on the labour by attending at least
a part of the work. Now let us demonstrate different types of
mist blowers and sprayers. A mist blower is the equipment which sprays the spray liquid
in the form of fine mist. Spray solution comes down in this plastic pipe by gravity. Air
stream in this bigger pipe breaks the liquid particles in to mist and sprays it on the
crop plant. This machine is useful for crops on large area. Spray solution covers the whole
crop plant due to mist form. Wastage of the liquid is very minimal. However operator should
walk fast matching to the spraying by the mist blower. It is possible to cover 3 to
4 acres in a day. Many brands are available in this mist blower category. We are using
Oleomac and Stihl mist blowers for our demonstration. We find petrol engines of 4 to 5 HP depending
on the make and the model. Liquid tank capacity is 14 to 16 liters. Discharge rate is 3 to
5 liters per minute. This mist blower has the booster engine and hence the spray can
reach the pepper vine of this height. It is very popular for spraying in rubber plantations
also. However the spray stream spreads wider with the height and wastage of the liquid
will be more. Hence it is not suitable for targeted spray for areca nut bunches. This
mist blower is best suited for field crops on large area. If you reduce the air stream
it works like any other sprayer. There is a provision for converting this mist
blower in to a duster by using a small it kit. Put sulphur, Melathion or any other dust
in to the tank and dust like this. This duster machine is useful for mango, grape, paddy
and many more crops. This mist blower cum duster is an efficient and useful machine
for crops on large area. But it is not suitable for restricted and targeted sprays.
This is the mechanized sprayer suitable for crops on large area. Oleomac, Agrimate and
many more brands are popular in this category. Tank capacity is 20 to 25 liters. This Agrimate
model runs with 25 cc 4 stroke1 HP Honda engine. Discharge rate is 5 to 7 liters per minute.
Spray liquid breaks in to fine droplets and hence it spreads on the crop plant effectively.
However, the operator should walk fast to avoid the wastage of spray solution.
Now we shall study the improved versions of conventional sprayers. We have demonstrated
Agrimate models. This is the very common and basic model. Tank is made up of good quality
fiber to avoid rust and corrosion. Operating the handle is made very easy. Tank capacity
is 12 or 16 liters. This is the improved Agrimate high-tech manual sprayer. This stores more
air pressure which improves spraying. Durability of this sprayer is more compared to other
manual sprayers. We find mini � hand held sprayers for back yard or kitchen gardens.
This is baby sprayer. This is a slightly bigger sprayer which is fitted on two small wheels
for pulling. This is one more mini sprayer which hangs on the shoulder. All these mini
sprayers are useful for home gardens. This is HTP sprayer. This Agrimate model is
fitted with 35.8 cc, 3.1 HP Honda engine. It uses petrol and kerosene as fuel. To match
the capacity of this sprayer we need to employ 2 people with two spray guns at a time. Discharge
rate is 25 to 30 liters per minute. This HTP sprayer is useful for field crops on large
area or plantation crops like coffee, tea, grapes etc. We can fit this HTP pump on mini
tiller or any other engine of required capacity. This is Agrimate mobile sprayer. Tank capacity
is 50 liters and it can be pulled on the wheels easily. It is fitted with 25 cc 4 stroke 1
HP Honda engine. Rate of discharge is 7 liters per minute. The spray can reach 15 to 20 feet
height. However the spray spreads wider with height and the wastage will be more. Even
though there are many brands and number of models in these sprayers none of them are
effective for targeted spraying for areca nut bunches. Oleomac and Agrimate portable
sprayers have entered the market to match this requirement. It is said to be a replacement
for manual Gator sprayers commonly used in areca nut gardens. This portable sprayer has
1 to 2 HP petrol engine. Spray reaches up to 15 to 20 feet height effectively. However
the spray spreads wider with heavy wind and height resulting in the wastage of spray solution.
Even then it is acceptable in the rainy season for the control of quick spreading nut decay
disease of areca nut. It can replace manual sprayer in conventional spraying method also.
This is battery sprayer becoming popular in recent years. It is very similar to manual
back pack sprayers in capacity, spraying method etc. But we need not put effort to build air
pressure. Hence the operator can work throughout the day. This works with 12 volt battery.
Overnight charging is sufficient to spray 350 liters of spray solution. Spray will be
uniform till the battery is exhausted fully. Discharge rate is 2 to 3 liters per minute.
This battery sprayer is competing with all types of manual sprayers in recent years.
We find many brands in this category in the open market.
There is no shortage for organic material in forest areas. But in plains there is no
forest and hence no dry leaves or herbage for organic manure production. Then the other
option is to powder the waste materials available on the farm. Midrib of the coconut leaves,
dry twigs of any plant, cotton and sunflower plants after harvest can produce enough organic
material for the purpose. Bio-shredders of various brands have entered the market for
this purpose. This machine runs with 5 or 10 HP electric motor or 6.5 or 13 HP petrol
engine. It can be attached to a mini tiller also. Acceptability of this machine by the
farmer is yet to be established since electricity and petrol are scarce and costly inputs in
recent years. Tea plantation needs workers on large scale
for the harvest of tea leaves. Delay in harvesting brings down the quality of tea powder. Agrimate
tea harvester has entered the market to counter this problem. This 2 men operated machine
runs with 25 cc 2 stroke petrol engine. Two blades sliding on each other with reciprocal
movement cut the tea sprouts. Air stream at high speed from the bent pipes in front of
the cutting blades pushes the cut leaves in to the bag behind. The entire machine weighs
8.5 kilograms. It is not difficult to operate this machine by holding like this on the tea
plant. It takes 2 to 3 hours for a new operator to run this harvester at uniform height. Fluctuation
in the height will cut matured leaves also spoiling the quality of the whole stock. Tea
plantations facing acute shortage of labour are using this tea harvester successfully.
Tea plants need pruning at half height once in 3 to 4 years. This is necessary to get
healthy sprouts and better yield. It is very laborious to cut off this hard plant manually.
Tea pruners are extensively used for this purpose in recent years. This is another version
of regular brush cutter machine. Carbide tip circular blade with 100 teeth is attached
for this purpose. This sharp blade with high RPM cuts the plant stem without splitting.
This machine has replaced the manual pruning in most of the plantations. Farmers use similar
type of circular blades to cut fire wood and small trees. Pruning mulberry plants at the
base once in a year is practiced to produce fresh growth. Similar machine is being used
for this purpose also. Working with this machine is easy and very fast compared to manual work.
Company made special circular blade is in use for this work. Hence brush cutter is helpful
for our farmers in many ways. Harvesting of coffee berries coincides with
paddy and areca nut harvest in many areas creating acute labour shortage. In Robusta
variety of coffee berries are harvested at a time after all berries are ripe. Simple
equipment from Gulliver Company is available for the purpose. This works with a rechargeable
battery. These two rods rotate in opposite direction. It also produces vibration sufficient
to separate the berries from the shoot. There is a fixed gap between these two rods which
avoids damage to the shoots and shedding of leaves in operation. However there is no much
difference between working with this equipment and manual harvesting except the speed of
work. Spreading tarpaulin is unavoidable. Harvesting with this equipment will save time
up to 50%. Till now we have seen agricultural equipment.
Now let us demonstrate few useful general types of machinery. Many farmers use compressor
pump for washing cattle shed and also the animals. High pressure washer is the best
alternative for this work. It consumes very less water and is portable. However we should
not use full pressure for animals. Washing with high pressure washer will eliminate ticks
from cattle shed. It needs 2 kilowatt electricity. Discharge rate is 7 liters per minute. High
pressure washer is being used to clean cement floors covered with algal growth. It can clean
feeder and other equipment in poultry farm. It is the best machine for washing vehicles.
Apart from these it may be used to sprinkle water for curing new constructions, cleaning
compound wall etc. Hence high pressure washer can be a multipurpose equipment which saves
time of day today work. High pressure washer of Agrimate, Oleomac, Comet and many more
brands are available in the open market. Now let us demonstrate few important garden
machineries. Ornamental garden and lawn around the houses is common now. It has become almost
compulsory in big cities and farm houses around cities. Maintenance of this garden is more
difficult than establishment. Lawn mowers of different size and capacity are available
now for trimming lawn grass. This is the simplest manual lawn mower. Pushing it on the lawn
will trim the grass at uniformly. However this may not be useful for lawns kept untrimmed
for long time. It is the best suited lawn mower for small lawn around the house. This
is the most popular petrol engine lawn mower. We can adjust the cutting blade to 3 different
heights depending upon the height of grass to be retained. Cut grass collects in the
box behind. Take out the grass once the box is full. This is suitable for small and medium
sized lawns. Electrical lawn mowers of same type are also in use. But the garden should
have power point. Working method and the efficiency is similar to petrol lawn mower. For lawns
on large area like stadiums, resorts etc. ride on lawn mowers are in use. This also
runs with petrol engine. It is easy for the operator to work with this lawn mower since
he need not walk. Cut grass is taken out once the box is full. However this ride-on lawn
mower is suitable only for lawns on large area.
Maintaining the hedge at a particular height and shape is a skillful job. We have efficient
hedge trimmers from Stihl and Oleomac companies for this purpose. This weighs around 5 kilograms.
This Oleomac hedge trimmer has 1.2 HP petrol engine. The handle can be turned up to 180�
so that the operator can work on both side of the hedge comfortably. This is Stihl hedge
trimmer popular for its efficiency and accuracy. Likewise, we have electrical hedge trimmers
also marketed by the same companies. But the garden should have power points. Working method
and the efficiency of this electrical model is similar to the petrol hedge trimmer.
Scarcity of labor is a worldwide problem. It is not limited to farming only. Industries,
construction works etc. in the cities are also facing shortage of skilled workers. But
they never cry like our farmers. They use all opportunities for mechanization and bring
down the dependence on manpower. Likewise we have to find suitable machines and equipment
for farm mechanization. Off course it may not be possible to replace manpower for all
works and situations in Indian agriculture. But even the partial mechanization can bring
down the pressure on the labour force. Nobody has the magic stick to solve this labour problem.
We may have to modify our cropping and cultural practices while adapting these machines. No
doubt the mechanization can bring down cost of production in long run and improve the
efficiency of Indian agriculture. Your Shramajeevi will walk with you throughout this process
of transition. Let us meet again in the next part of this film. Thank you. 7