FARM MACHINERY AND IMPLEMENTS
Farm machinery includes various types of machines and implements used in the farm. These include tractors, ploughs, harrows, cultivators, ridgers, planters, harvesters, shellers, dryers, sprayers, incubators. The most important implement or machine in the farm, which is used for operating many farm implements is the tractor.
Examples of farm machines are tractor, bulldozer, tree puller, sheller, dryer, incubator and milking machine.
- The tractor is a powerful and expensive multi purpose motor vehicle used for lifting or pulling farm implements.
- It is equipped with a governor system.
- It has a power-take off (P.T.O) shaft used in drawing farm implements like ploughs, harrows, harvesters, planters, etc.
- It has hydraulic control system which lifts mounted implements under the control of the operator.
- It consists of an internal combustion engine which uses diesel or petrol without spark plugs.
- It has four wheels with rubber tyres.
- Popular brands or models of tractors are: David Brown, Massey Ferguson, Ford and Fiat.
Functions / Uses of the Tractor
- Transportation of farm inputs, materials and farm produce / haulage with trailer attached.
- It operates water pumps for irrigation or other farm purposes
- Lifting of coupled implements through the hydraulic system.
- Pulling of farm implements like ploughs, etc.
- Tilling the soil with appropriate implement attached.
- Planting seeds when coupled with planters.
- Spraying seedlings when coupled with sprayers.
- Harvesting crops when coupled together with appropriate machines.
- It can be a stationary power source for equipment like shellers and grinders.
- Provision of electric power.
- Can be used to operate milking machines.
- Can be used for mowing lawn with mowers.
- It can contribute to improved profitability by reducing labour costs, improving quality and quantity of produce and allow an increase in the size of the farm.
Daily Maintenance of Tractor
Maintenance practices that can be carried out daily on the tractor include the following:
- Keep the tractor clean by removing all trashes or mud from it at the start or at the end of operations.
- Check water levels daily and top it when necessary.
- Check oil level daily and top it when necessary.
- Check tyre pressures daily before operations.
- Inspect the tractor every day before starting.
- Check electrolyte of battery every day and top when necessary.
- Adhere strictly to manual or manufacturer’s instructions.
- Do not overload the tractor, i.e, operate at appropriate speed for farm operations.
Periodic Maintenance of Tractor
Maintenance practices that should be carried out periodically or at regular intervals on the tractor include the following:
- The tractor should be serviced at regular intervals.
- Worn-out tyres should be replaced and tyre pressure guaged regularly.
- Ensure that nuts, screws or shield are checked and tightened at regular intervals.
- Replace worn-out or weld broken parts of the tractor.
- Adhere strictly to manual or manufacturer’s instructions.
- Employ a competent and experienced tractor operator.
- Routine and regular changing of the engine oil.
- Air filter should be cleared when necessary.
- Oil filter should be changed during each service.
- Parts like the linkages, steering and other movable parts should be greased occasionally.
- Fuel injectors should be serviced or changed when necessary.
- Fan belts should be replaced or adjusted.
- Wash or clean the carburettor regularly.
- Always park the tractor in a shed.
- Bulldozers are powerful tractors and expensive machines with a broad steel blade or sheet at the front.
- It has tract-type metal chains, used for its movement.
- It consists of internal combustion engine which uses diesel or petrol.
- The bulldozer which has track metal chains moves by the aid of driving sprocket, track rollers and idler rollers.
Functions/Uses of Bulldozer
- Bulldozer is used for bush clearing.
- It is used for felling trees and stumps.
- It is used for levelling the ground.
- It is also used to construct roads on the farms and in rural areas.
- It is used for moving and collection of earth.
Disadvantages of Using Bulldozers for Land Preparation
Bulldozers, because of their heavy weights and nature of work, have the following disadvantages in land preparation.
- It destroys the structure of the soil.
- It leads to reduction of soil fertility.
- It also causes compaction of the soil.
- It can cause air and noise pollution.
- The bulldozer is an expensive machine that cannot be afforded by peasant farmers.
- It can cause soil erosion and waterlogging.
Maintenance of Bulldozer
The maintenance of the bulldozer is the same with that of the tractor.
c) Tree Pullers
The tree puller is a machine just like the tractor or bulldozer. It has the ability to move on the soil surface with minimal disturbances on the top soil. It also has a unique feature of pulling up trees from their stands with minimal disturbances of the rich top soil. It is recommended for use instead of the bulldozer.
Advantages of Using the Tree puller over Bulldozer
- Tree puller does not compress the soil.
- It does not remove the top soil which is very fertile.
- The removal of soil cover is avoided, thus retaining mulching effects of vegetative cover.
- Land is less prone to erosive forces.
- The organic matter content of the soil is retained.
- It leads to non-destruction of soil structure.
- It normally uproots the trees with minimal disturbance of the soil.
These are machines operated electrically, mechanically or manually. It is made up of a hopper, bucket, a winder and a drum with rubber or metal spikes. Shellers are of different types, made to suit the type of crops to be shelled. It is a processing machine used to separate dry grains at 10% moisture content from the cob of maize.
Shellers are used mainly to separate the seeds from the husk or cob. In other words, shellers are used in removing the hard, outer covering of nuts, grains (rice, maize, cowpea), etc.
e) Dryers: These are farm machines used to reduce moisture content of commodities such as grains, cocoa, etc. It operates by electricity.
Functions of Dryers
- It is used for drying plant materials, e.g, cocoa, beans, groundnuts, maize, etc.
- It is also used for drying animal products such as meat.
- It generates heat or distributes heat which dries up or reduces moisture content of stored produce.
The dryer gets rid of moisture by:
- Increasing the temperature in the store house.
- This leads to the formation of vapour.
- The fanning now blows out the hot vapour.
Incubators are made in varying sizes and designs. They use different types of fuel (e.g. oil lamp, electricity, etc) to supply the heat required.
Incubators are machines used for hatching fertilised eggs artificially. It takes 21 days for fertilised eggs of domestic fowl to develop and hatch in incubators.
Types of incubators include natural draught or table type, and forced draught or cabinet type.
Conditions for Incubator to function
Before fertilised eggs are placed, the incubator should be run for 12-24 hours. For incubators to function properly, they require the following conditions.
- Temperature range of 37.C- 39.C
- Relative humidity of 50 – 70%; an optimum level being 60%.
- Adequate ventilation.
Components of an Incubator
An incubator is made up of a setter and a hatcher. The fertilised eggs are kept in the setter for 18 days while for the remaining three days before hatching the eggs, they are placed in the hatcher.
The components of an incubator are:
- Heater e.g. lantern, heater or electric heater. It supplies heat to incubator.
- Control unit, damper or thermostat. It regulates the temperature of the incubator.
- Heat distribution unit.
- Hygrometer; It regulates the relative humidity of the incubator.It is the relative humidity mediation unit which can be a basin of water, cotton-wool or humidifier.
- Felt tray – (to hold eggs and reduce cracking) or egg racks or egg trays.
- Thermometer – to detect the degree of hotness or coldness of the machine.
- Fan or air circulation unit or vent for ventilation.
- Egg turning device for regular turning of eggs.
- Insulator, to prevent heat loss. The device used in which the newly hatched chicks are tended by the provision of heat until they develop enough feathers is called a brooder. The brooder could be in form of a special house called the Brooding House.
- Egg tray; It is used in filling eggs i.e. eggs are arranged in it.
Problems Associated with the Functioning of the Components
The problems that may lead to the malformation or non-functioning of the components of incubators include:
- If it is electrical incubator, power failure and irregular power supply would arise, but if it is kerosene-heat incubator, the problem that will arise include running out of kerosene.
- Thermostat: High or low voltage or current.
- Fan: Irregular power supply; over heating through over-usage; loose nuts of the parts; improper lubrication of the movable parts.
- Thermometer: Problems include: cracking or breakage of the bulb / thermometer; loss of sensitivity.
- Ventilation: Blockage of vents.
- Water basin: Leakages; drying up of water contents.
- Insulator: Malfunctioning of the insulator unit.
- Turning device for egg tray: Lubrication of the movable joints or parts; loose nuts.
Efforts to Ensure Uniformity of Hatching of Eggs in Incubator
The steps that should be taken to ensure that eggs hatch at about the same time include:
- Setting eggs uniformly in the tray.
- Timely and regular turning of eggs.
- Ensure suitable environmental condition such as ventilation and relative humidity.
- Proper handling of the eggs.
- Setting eggs at the same time.
- Select eggs of the same sizes.
- Holding period for eggs before setting should not be more than 14 days.
Operations Needed after the Hatching of Eggs in the Hatchery
Activities or operations normally carried out after hatching of eggs in the hatchery include:
- Sexing of chicks.
- Drying of chicks.
- Intra- ocular (I) NDV vaccination.
- Sorting out abnormal chicks.
- Packing normal chicks.
g) Milking Machines
The milking machine is made up of an electric motor, vacuum pump, source of power, trap pail, vacuum controller,guage,gap, milk tank and four teat cups.
Function / Use
Milking machines are used for milking or extracting fresh milk mechanically from the udder of cattle (cow) and other milk producing animals like sheep (ewe) and goat (doe).
How the Machine Works
The milk is removed from the teat when the vacuum is applied to the outside of the teat cup liner. When the teat cup liner collapses, the teat is massaged and this action helps to prevent congestion in the teat walls and ensures regular flow of milk from the udder into the teat cups.
Milking machines are more efficient. They save labour, stop the cow from becoming Strippers, and reduce the danger of contamination. The quality of milk obtained depends on the care taken in cleaning and operating the machine.
Substance Extracted by Milking Machine
The main substance that is extracted by the milking machine from farm animals like cow, ewe and goat is milk. The process by which the substance (i.e. milk) collected with the milking machine is made fit for human consumption is called pasteurisation.
Economic Importance of Milk
- It is a source of protein in food.
- It can be used in raising foster calves, lambs or children.
- It is used in the preparation of baby food.
- It supplies minerals to livestock.
- It is used as an extender in artificial insemination practices.
- It is also used in the preparation of dairy products such as butter, cheese, yoghurt, etc.
Other Tools/Equipment Used in Dairy Cattle Farm
Common tools/equipment apart from milking machine used in dairy cattle farm include:
- Feed trough.
- Cheese cloth.
- Milking chute.
- Health and medical tools.
- Silage fork.
- Milk testcup.
- Drenching bottles.
- Milking pails.
- Loading ramp/chute.
- Water trough
- Control halters/ropes.
- Forage driers.
- Washing scale.
- Forage harvester.
- Tattooing/numbering tools.
Harmful Contaminants of Milk in a Dairy Farm
- Dirts from tools.
- Droplets from sick animals.
- Straw/ hay/ silage.
- Body hair.
Precautions to be Taken During Milking
Precautions that must be taken in order to obtain or produce clean/pure milk include:
- Thorough cleaning of animals before milking.
- Fore-milk must be tested with test cup.
- Handle milking with care. The milkers should concentrate on their work while the animal being milked should be treated with care.
- There should be no distraction like smoking during milking.
- Milk animals in clean environment.
- Observe hygienic or sanitary rules.