SIMPLE FARM TOOLS (PART 1)
AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE

SIMPLE FARM TOOLS (PART 1)

These are simple, handy tools used mainly by peasant farmers. They are designed to help the hands to apply force in farm operations. Some common simple farm tools and their functions are discussed below.

 

Types of Simple Farm Tools

Cutlass

This is the tool most commonly used by farmers. There are two main types – one has a slightly curved blade with a short wooden handle, while the other has a straight metal blade and a short wooden handle.

One edge of the metal blade is sharp and the other is blunt.

Functions/Uses

  1. For cutting down and clearing bushes and trees.
  2. For transplanting seedlings.
  3. For planting seeds and harvesting crops.
  4. For weeding farmlands.

Maintenance practices

  1. Cutlass should be sharpened regularly.
  2. Keep it in a dry and cool place.
  3. Metal parts should be oiled or greased before storage.
  4. It should not be left lying about.

 

Hoe

The hoe consists of a metal blade which may either be round or slightly rectangular in shape with a wooden handle which can be either long or short.

Types of Hoe

There are two types of hoe. These are :

  • West African Hoe: It has a short wooden handle and a round metal blade. Its metal blade is attached to the wooden handle with a prong.
  • West Indian Hoe: It has a long wooden handle and a rectangular metal blade. The metal blade has a loop round its handle.

Similarities and Differences between West African Hoe and West Indian Hoe

Similarities

  1. Both types of hoe have a metal blade.
  2. Both types of hoe have a wooden handle.

Differences

West African Hoe

  1. Has a short handle
  2. Has a round metal blade.
  3. Blade is attached to wooden handle with a prong.

West Indian Hoe

  1. Has a long handle.
  2. Has a rectangular metal blade.
  3. Blade is attached to handle by a loop round the handle.

Functions/Uses

  1. Hoe is used for land preparation.
  2. It is used for making ridges and heaps.
  3. For planting or transplanting some crops.
  4. For harvesting some crops.
  5. It is used for weeding.

Maintenance Practices

  1. Sharpen blunt blades.
  2. Keep in dry and cool places.
  3. Oil or grease metal blade before storage.
  4. Clean or wash after use.

 

Spade

Spade has a long wooden handle and a broad metal blade. The edge of the metal blade is sharp so that it can easily be driven into the soil.

Functions/Uses

  1. Spade is used for lifting soil and completely turning it over.
  2. It is used for levelling soil.
  3. For digging holes during transplanting.
  4. For mixing cement/concrete for farm structures.

Maintenance Practices

  1. Store in a dry and cool place.
  2. Keep away from rain and termite attack on wooden handles.
  3. Sharpen the blade regularly.

 

Shovel

Shovel is just like the spade. It has a long wooden handle but the blade of a shovel is hollow and broad with a rectangular or round edge.

Functions/Uses

  1. It is used for lifting or transferring soil from one place to another.
  2. To load materials from ground level into wheel barrow.
  3. For making garden paths.
  4. For levelling the ground and removing stones or rubbish.

Maintenance practices

  1. Store in a dry and cool place.
  2. Oil, grease or paint metal parts.
  3. Keep the wooden part away from the attack of termites.
  4. Clean after use.

 

Garden Fork

Garden fork usually has four prongs or teeth which taper to a point. The prongs, made of hard metal are about 20cm long, mounted on a long wooden handle of about 70-80cm long.

Functions/Uses

  1. It is used for turning manure during compost making.
  2. It is used for loosening the soil before transplanting.
  3. It is used for loading manure.
  4. It is used for loading hay.

Maintenance Practices

  1. Apply grease to avoid rusting.
  2. Clean after use.
  3. Keep in dry and cool place.
  4. Paint metal parts before long storage.

 

Hand Fork

The hand fork consists of a piece of metal with three or four short flat prongs. Some have short wooden handle while others are entirely made of metal. It is mainly used in squatting position because of its small size.

Functions/Uses

  1. It is used for loosening surface soil or breaking soil clods.
  2. It is used for light weeding.
  3. For mixing small quantity of soil or manure.
  4. For working manure into the soil.

Maintenance Practices

  1. Store in a dry and cool place.
  2. Paint, oil or grease to prevent rusting.
  3. Clean or wash after use.

 

Hand Trowel

Hand trowel is a small hand tool consisting of a short metal handle and a scoop – shaped blade. Like the hand fork, it is mainly used in squatting position because of its small size. The curved metal blade makes it possible for a small ball of earth to be carried with the seedling during transplanting.

Functions/Uses

  1. It is used for transplanting seedlings.
  2. For fertilizer or manure application.
  3. It is used for nursery practices or light weeding.
  4. It is used for digging holes for planting.
  5. It is used for sampling soil / mixing soil and fertilizers.

Maintenance Practices

  1. Clean or wash and dry after use.
  2. Straighten bent blade.
  3. Sharpen blunt blade.
  4. Store in a termite-free area.
  5. Store in a cool, dry place.

 

Rake

Rake consists of a long, wooden handle and a strong metal head with several stout prongs.

Functions/Uses

  1. It is used for levelling or spreading soil surface after hoeing.
  2. For removing stones and weeds from seed-beds.
  3. For covering vegetable seeds when they are broadcast.
  4. For breaking up soil lumps into finer particles.

Maintenance Practices

  1. Clean or remove dirt after use.
  2. Store in a dry, cool place.
  3. Keep away from termite attack on the wooden handle.
  4. Oil metal part.

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