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

Why use animal traction?

Agricultural mechanization has become a high priority in developing nations. This innovation is important because farmers using traditional techniques are unable to produce sufficient food for increasing populations. Mechanization can expand the area under cultivation and provide better soil preparation, leading to greater harvests. Government extension services therefore strive to give farmers tools, information and advice to enable them to increase productivity.

Benefits of mechanization to farmers include lightened workloads, better and more regular yields, or an easing of problems caused by short growing seasons or insufficient labor. Mechanization also can help to produce income with which farmers can acquire goods and services.

Yet mechanization is not practical or economical for every farmer. New tools are expensive. Acceptance of new techniques increases dependency on outside technical assistance. Thus the farmer who already produces enough food for his family may be reluctant to risk a known harvest (traditional yield) for an uncertain gain in productivity.


Early Egyptian Hoe: one-piece construction


Improved Handhoe: two-piece construction


Modern Moldboard Plow

Efforts to revolutionize agriculture with machines, cooperatives, and market controls have met with social resistance and technical failure in some areas. Similarly, efforts to improve handpowered systems with fertilizers, pesticides, and improved seeds generally have not produced food surpluses nor eased the burden of manual labor.

The search for agricultural technology that meets the needs and desires of both farmers and governments has led to increased interest in animal traction ("antrac"), sometimes called "light mechanization". Farmers, agronomists and agricultural extension services often cite the following advantages of using animal traction:

• It reduces the difficulty of labor and makes farming a more appealing occupation. Farmers who might seek employment in other areas are encouraged to develop existing skills and abilities and improve operations.

• It increases productivity. Replacing handhoes with draft animals and equipment, farmers

can double or triple the area cultivated, thereby increasing crop yields.

• It is affordable technology. Animals and equipment are low in cost compared to tractors. With careful planning and application, the investment can pay for itself in a few years. Low-interest loans are often available through government or sponsoring agencies.

• Animals and equipment can be supplied locally, creating less dependence on external resources than tractors and other machinery. Tractors need fossil fuels, spare parts, and maintenance know-how which may not be available to farmers.

• Used on a small scale, it does not require radical changes in cropping patterns or the role of family or hired labor. Although it does reduce manpower needs in some field operations, the reduction is not drastic and labor can shift to other activities like planting, spraying, harvesting and caring for animals and harness.

• It creates work opportunities. The use of animal traction can stimulate the development of artisan resources, increasing jobs for local blacksmiths, carpenters, and leather-makers who produce needed equipment. It also creates work in the areas of transport, waterpulling, and till

age on a contract basis. (Farmers can hire out their teams and equipment.) Often new opportunities arise in marketing and agro-industry.

• It encourages livestock production and development of meat, leather and byproduct markets.