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Research article2007Peer reviewed

Wear rate of animal-drawn ploughshares in selected Ghanaian soils

Bobobee EYH, Sraku-Lartey K, Fialor SC, Canacoo EA, Agodzo SK, Yawson A, Gebresenbet G


Rapid ploughshare wear was identified as a major constraint facing animal traction farmers in Ghana. The objectives of this study were to: (i) identify the types of animal-drawn ploughshare used by farmers and their production methods, (ii) develop and test a new cast steel share and compare its performance with existing ploughshares, and (iii) determine the factors responsible for the rapid wear and durability of ploughshares in selected soils in the country. To address this problem, new and used ploughshares were collected from farmers, blacksmiths and foundries and their microstructure, chemical composition and hardness were studied. Based on the above studies, new cast steel ploughshares were developed. On-farm tests were conducted on the new shares for wear and durability in the major animal traction soils in the country. On-station field trials with tractor-drawn shares were carried out to compare the performance of the new ploughshares with the imported and local blacksmith versions. Multivariate statistical methods were used to analyse the similarities among the shares with respect to producers, chemical composition, share hardness, soil physical factors (moisture content, bulk density, cone index and soil texture) and their relationship to wear rate. When pulled by tractor, the average wear rates of the imported, improved and blacksmith shares in soils containing 50%, 64% and 74% sand were 297, 362 and 562 g/ha, respectively. The average wear rates of the new share when pulled by animals in the major soil classifications were: Eutric Plinthosols, 146 g/ha; Plinthic Lixisols, 164 g/ha and Haplic Lixisols, 176 g/ha, respectively. This gave an average durability of 3-8 ha/share before the farmer declares the new ploughshare completely worn. This compares with 1-2 ha and 2-5 ha per share wear rates for the blacksmith-forged and the imported shares, respectively. The study concluded the new cast steel ploughshares have qualities of enhanced durability and toughness similar to the imported versions and more durable than the local blacksmith shares and have prospects for mass production. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved


Animal traction technology; ploughshare; wear; Ghana

Published in

Soil and Tillage Research
2007, Volume: 93, number: 2, pages: 299-308