FARM POWER

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FARM POWER is the source at which work gets done in the farm. Power itself is the rate of doing work or the rate of expedition of energy. 

The sources of Farm power includes the following;

  1. Human Power.
  2. Animal Power
  3. Mechanical Power
  4. Electrical Power
  5. Solar Power
  6. Wind Power
  7. Water Power
  8. Biogas
  1. HUMAN OR MANUAL MANPOWER

Human power is the power provided by human being also known as Manual Power. It is the most common source of Farm Power. It is employed mostly for use of traditional farm implements. It usually employs more people than any other farm power sources. These persons may be hired. They may also be skilled or unskilled

Farm operations where Manual power may be employed includes;

  1. Land clearing
  2. Stumping
  3. Land preparation such as ploughing, harrowing and ridging.
  4. Planting
  5. Weeding
  6. Harvesting
  7. Storage
  8. Food Processing

Advantages

  1. Man uses his intelligence to control the work he does.
  2. It is often deployed in all farm operations.
  3. It controls other sources of farm power.
  4. It is the most intelligent source of farm power used for precision jobs.
  5. It is readily available for use.

Disadvantages

  1. It has a low output and it is unstable can be up to 75W at peak and swings to 20W due to fatigue.
  2. It cannot perform tedious farm operation.
  3. It can easily be fatigued.
  4. Efficiency decreases with age.
  5. Human beings can easily die.
  6. It consumes time and less efficient.
  1. ANIMAL POWER

This is the type of power derived from animals. Some animals are used to perform certain farm operations. Animals such as bulls or ox (find out the difference between Bull and Ox) are used for pulling ploughs, harrows, planters, ridgers while  animals such as donkeys/ass, camels and horses are used for transportation of farm produce. Animals can be hired.

Draught animals (Animals used to draw a load) such as oxen, bullock, e.t.c are yoked. The yoke is attached to any other farm implement while man controls the direction of the implement for the tillage of soil.

Advantages

  1. Animals provide good traction under difficult terrains.
  2. They can do work better than humans.
  3. Maintenance cost is lower compared to machines.
  4. Use of Animal power does not require much technical knowledge.
  5. They can be eaten after exceeding their useful life.
  6. Animal waste returns to soil as fertilizers.
  7. Animals are ecology friendly.
  8. Animals can work longer than human.
  9. Animal power reduces drudgery and makes wok easy.

Disadvantages

  1. Animals are prone to diseases.
  2. Animals may be difficult to control as they are aggressive.
  3. Animals are slow in their operations as compared to machine.
  4. They require continuous attention on and off work.
  5. They suffer fatigue as humans.
  6. They can destroy or eat up the crop.
  7. The work efficiency is low.
  8. Zoonotic diseases from animals may affect the human handlers.
  9. You need some level of training to handle animals.
  10. They are not adapted to all types of environment and are limited to certain types of operations.
  1. MECHANICAL POWER

This type of farm power involves the use of machines and engines such as planters, harvesters, ridgers to carry out various type of farm operations like ploughing, harrowing, weeding, planting, harvesting, processing and transportation. They facilitate the cultivation of large hectares of land. Machines are used in tractions, grinding, food processing examples are tractors, generators, water pump and bulldozers, e.t.c. It can be hired.

Advantages

  1. It can handle more land area per unit time.
  2. It works faster and more efficiently.
  3. It is not prone to diseases.
  4. It can perform a wide range of farm operations.
  5. They reduce farm drudgery or they make farm work less tedious.

Disadvantages

  1. It requires high capital investment. It is expensive to purchase.
  2. It requires lots of technical skill to operate.
  3. It can lead to unemployment.
  4. It causes air pollution through gases from the exhaust pipe.
  5. It is not easily available.
  6. It cannot be used by small scale farmers.
  7. It requires high cost of maintenance.
  8. It can destroy soil structure
  1. ELECTRICAL POWER

This is the farm power derived from electricity or generators. It is a neat and cleaner source of energy. It is very efficient and reliable but expensive. Examples of farm operations that can be powered by electrical power includes, Refrigeration, incubation, milking machines, drying of products, shelling of fruits/seeds. Debeaking of poultry animals, processing activities, e.t.c.

Advantages

  1. It is very neat. Its use in the equipment does not contaminate the product and does not generate exhaust gasses except in its generation (generators).
  2. It is versatile, can be used for various types of operations at different times.
  3. It aids fast operation or increases production.
  4. It is easy to operate.
  5. It saves labour.
  6. It is a cheap source of power.

Disadvantages

  1. Its supply is not very regular especially in developing countries.
  2. It is very dangerous or fatal if carelessly handled.
  3. It must be strictly controlled or regulated
  4. It’s maintenance cost may be high.
  5. It can cause fire hazard.
  6. It cannot be widely used in field operations.
  1. SOLAR POWER

Solar energy is derived from the radiation from the sun. This is converted into electrical energy by the solar panels. It is transmitted and stored in batteries that can be used. Farm operations where solar power can be employed includes; operations where electrical power is needed such as processing, heating of farm stead. This kind of energy is used by crops for photosynthesis.

Advantages

  1. It is a cheaper source of farm power because there is no running cost for fuelling needed.
  2. This kind of farm power is environmentally friendly.
  3. It can be stored for later use in batteries.
  4. The equipment have long lifespan if well maintained.
  5. They are economically viable and competitive.
  6. It can serve as back up to electricity power.

Disadvantages

  1. The performance is weather dependent and can be erratic or irregular if the battery power isn’t high enough.
  2. The technology is sophisticated and are only available in developed countries.
  3. There is a high initial cost needed for set up.
  4. There is need for special training for personnel for installation and maintenance of the technologies.
  5. The batteries have negative environmental impact during manufacture and disposal.
  6. May not be able to power heavy machines.
  1. WIND POWER

This type of farm power just like solar helps convert wind energy into mechanical and then electrical energy. Farm operations where in can be used are also operations where electrical energy is relevant. It can be used directly in operations such as winnowing (Separation of chaffs from grains), drying of produce, propelling boat trawlers.

Advantages

  1. It can serve as alternative or backup to failing electricity.
  2. It is available everywhere.
  3. It is cheap to use since it is everywhere.

Disadvantages

  1. Its operation and procuring of the equipment can be expensive.
  2. It supply is sporadic as it depends on the strength of the wind.
  3. Efficiency is highly varied depending on the type of equipment used.
  4. It requires expertise to set up.
  1. WATER POWER

This is the basis and one of the sources of electricity generation. It can also be used directly in transportation, irrigation, processing of farm produce, e.t.c.

Advantages

  1. It is cheap and easy to be harnessed if used directly.
  2. It can be easily be converted to other forms of energy just like solar and wind.

Disadvantages

  1. It is not available everywhere.
  2. Supply is seasonal.
  3. Its best of power is not direct and must be converted.
  4. It requires expertise and technology to harness.
  5. It could be destructive if carelessly handled.
  1. BIOGAS

Biogas is the method of generating power by making use of farm wastes especially animal dung. This is generated by collecting animal dung and water in airtight containers to generate gases (methane) produced anaerobically by microbes. This gas is then collected and can be used for heating and lighting.

Advantages

  1. It can be used for various farm operation such as brooding of chicks, cooking, drying, e.t.c
  2. It can easily be controlled.

Disadvantages

  1. It is not a common source of power.
  2. It requires expertise which may not be easily available.
  3. It may be expensive to set up and maintain.
  4. It is only limited to where animals are reared on commercial basis.

REVIEW QUESTIONS

  1. List four sources of farm power and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.
  2. Write short notes on the following sources of farm power i. Work animals, ii. Machine engine, iii. Water, iv. Sun (SSCE Nov, 1989)
  3. List four farm operation requiring electrical power. List three advantages and three disadvantages of each of the following farm power; i. electricity ii. Animal (WASSCE June 1999).
  4. a. State three advantages and two disadvantages of manual labour b. Enumerate four qualities of good draught animals. C. State two precautions to be observed when using draught animals. d. Explain how power from each of the following sources are harnessed for use in the farm i. Sun ii. Biogas (WASSCE June 2005).
  5. a. List four factors that may affect the efficiency of draught animals. b. State three merits and three demerits of using animal power on the farm. (WASSCE June 2008).