Types of farm power


All farm power operations require a specific amount of energy. The time required will vary according to the size and type of power source used. Power can be supplied by humans, animals, or machines.

Explore the information for each of the five power sources given below.

humanLabor img1. Human labor

In some cases, manual labor is more cost-efficient than machines.
One person can:

  • shift 2-3 cubic meters of soil/day
  • cultivate 60 square meters/day
  • cultivate 1 hectare in 150-160 days
  • hand weed 1 hectare in 30-35 days

Advantages: cost-effective

Disadvantages: time consuming, physically taxing

animalLabor img

2. Animal power

Animals are still widely used as a major power source. A pair of animals will take 8-10 days to plow 1 hectare.

Advantages: Low maintenance, multi-purpose, self-replacement.

Disadvantages: Limited daily working hours, slow, high person/power ratio.

twoWheelTractor img

3. Two-wheel tractor

Two-wheel tractors are normally powered by 6-12 kw gasoline or diesel engines and are fitted with either rubber tires or steel cage wheels. A two wheel tractor can plow 1 ha/day.

Advantages: Multi-purpose vehicle, best in tough conditions, performs well in both wet and dry conditions, simple to use and operate.

Disadvantages: Cost of ownership and operation, could cause fatigue, although ride-on versions are now available.

4. Four-wheel tractor

Four-wheel tractors can be divided into 2 categories: two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive.




Two-Wheel Drive

2WheelDrive img

  • Smaller turning circle.

  • Simplicity of design.

  • Fewer mechanical parts.

  • Lower purchase price.
  • Inability to work in wet and muddy conditions.




Four-Wheel Drive

4WheelDrive img

  • Ability to work in wet condition

  • More efficient

  • Higher purchase cost.

  • Higher maintenance cost.


layingTractor img

5. Track laying tractor

Used mainly for civil work but can be used for tillage.

Advantages: Good traction, high power availability at draw bar, lower operating cost.

Disadvantages: High maintenance cost, poor maneuverability, high purchase cost.

Prepared by JF Rickman and the Agricultural Engineering Department at IRRI