Cover Image
close this book Animal traction
View the document About this manual
View the document About the author
View the document Acknowledgments
close this folder 1. Introduction
View the document What is animal traction?
View the document History of animal traction
View the document Why use animal traction?
View the document Some considerations
View the document How can animal traction be used?
View the document Before beginning: what do you need to know?
close this folder 2. Draft animal selection
View the document Popular draft animals
View the document Determining power requirements
View the document General rules concerning power requirements
View the document Method for determining size of the hitch
View the document Determining weights of animals
View the document Selection of individual draft animals
View the document Conformation
View the document Temperament
close this folder 3. Animal husbandry
View the document Sheller
View the document Nutrition
View the document Grooming
View the document Minor medical problems and first aid
close this folder 4. Training draft animals
View the document Before training begins
View the document General comments on training procedure
View the document Training cattle
View the document Program for training cattle
View the document Training horses, donkeys and mules
View the document Program for training horses, donkeys and mules
close this folder 5. Yokes and harnesses
View the document Yokes and harnesses for cattle
View the document Yokes and harnesses for horses, donkeys and mules
View the document How to harness a horse, donkey or mule
View the document Steering systems
View the document Breeching harness
close this folder 6. Hitches
View the document Safety rules
View the document Implement hitches
View the document Vehicle hitches
View the document 7. Field operations and implements
close this folder 8. Economic and technical assistance
View the document Farm planning assistance
View the document Equipment options
View the document Credit for equipment
View the document Credit for animals
View the document Procedures and controls
close this folder 9. Animal traction extension
View the document Extension education
View the document Appendix A: Animal power
close this folder Appendix B: Animal nutrition
View the document Energy needs: bovine animals
View the document Energy needs: equine animals
View the document Nutrient needs of draft animals: protein, minerals, vitamins
View the document Feeds and feed composition
View the document Calculating a ration
View the document Recommended rations and feeding practices
close this folder Appendix C: Disease recognition and control
View the document Parasites and parasitic disease
View the document Appendix D: Workshop and spare parts inventory
View the document Appendix E: Animal traction instruction forms
View the document Appendix F: Animal breeds used for power
View the document Bibliography
View the document Resources
View the document GIossary

Method for determining size of the hitch

A basic approach to determining the kind and number of animals required is to estimate the maximum power the farmer will need and then calculate the size of the animal or team of animals that could supply it. The combination of animals that will satisfy the farmer's power needs is called a hitch. The size of the hitch can be determined by using the tables below, or by making the calculations found in Appendix A.

Table 2 gives the draft requirements of various field operations. Remember that the draft requirement is the amount of power needed to pull an implement through the soil.

Tables 3 and 4 give the amount of power donkeys and bulls, respectively, can deliver in relation to their body weight and number of individuals in the hitch.

To determine the kind of hitch needed, first find the draft requirement of the most difficult operation to be performed (Tables 1 and 2). Use Tables 3 and 4 to find which size animal or combination of animals will deliver this amount of power. Then determine the weights of the available animals to match animal power to draft requirements.

For example:

Difficulty of work-The most difficult field operation will be plowing fairly light soils during the rainy season with a single moldboard plow. The farmer's fields are old (have been cultivated the previous season) and plowing depth will not exceed 15 centimeters (cm).

Draft requirements-According to Table 1 about 70 kg of pulling power are needed to do this kind of work.

Hitch options-Tables 3 and 4 can be used to determine two hitches that would satisfy the draft requirement:

1) two 300-kg bulls (69.5 kg of power or draft)

2) four 110-kg donkeys (69 kg of power or draft).


Table 1-Requirements of Some Farm Implements for Operations on Medium Loam Soils*

*See Chapter 7 for a description of these operations and implements.


Table 2-Draft Requirements of Field Operations

Choice of hitch-The decision is made based on these criteria: availability of animals, cost of animals, daily work potential of animals, cost of harness, and availability and cost of feed.

If they are available and the farmer can afford them, bulls are generally the best choice because they will work longer hours per day and they require less harness equipment. Bulls weighing less than 300 kg each could be used if they were harnessed in breastbands or collars rather than in a yoke. Animals can deliver more of their potential power when working in these types of harnesses.


Table 3-Power of Donkeys (in breastband or collar)

If animals to be used are of the same size, match draft requirement to figure in TOTAL columns. For example, an animal owner could meet a requirement of 56 kg of power by using two 150-kg donkeys, three 110-kg donkeys, or four small animals of 90 kg apiece.

If animals are of different sizes, use single animal column for any size hitch, and add individual power together to get hitch total.