Performance Assessment of Manual Rice Harvesting Methods under Farmer’s Field Conditions
Keywords:Harvesting, threshing, Nerica, drudgery, field capacity, cutlass, sickle
A better understanding of field performances for traditional harvesting methods and tools is essential in facilitating future improvement on design and overall efficiency. Performance of different manual harvesting tools and methods was evaluated under farmer’s field conditions for IR841 and Nerica L20 rice varieties in Benin. Results from evaluation showed that an average of 84 to 161 man-hours was required to thresh a hectare of rice field using either the threshing by impact “bambam” or bag beating method. Less time was however required to thresh IR841 than Nerica L20 varieties, irrespective of manual threshing method used. Similarly, between 58 to 95 man-hours was required to harvest a hectare of field using either a cutlass or sickle. However, to harvest Nerica L20 required less time than IR841 variety, irrespective of cutting tool used. Harvesting efficiency ranged between 78.9% to 85.3% with the sickle producing better harvesting efficiency than the cutlass irrespective of rice variety. Energy expenditure ranged from 471 to 491 W for combine harvesting, 685 to 1161 W for manual cutting with cutlass, 746 to 860 W for manual cutting with sickle, 676 to 873 W during threshing by impact “bambam” and 409 to 480 W during traditional winnowing of threshed paddy. While, a mini combine harvester is better at significantly reducing drudgery compared to manual rice harvesting methods, the use of sickle is much preferred to cutlass in the case of manual rice harvesting. However, harvesting IR841 rice variety was generally less laborious than Nerica L20 variety. It is however recommended that further work on performance evaluation of different harvesting systems is carried out under experimental field conditions. With respect to reduction of harvesting drudgery, it is recommended for breeders to intensify work on releasing more of the IR841 rice varieties.