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Doctoral thesis, 2007

Performance analysis of draught animal-implement system to improve productivity and welfare

Bobobee Emmanuel Y H


Draught animal technology is a reliable and popular farm power resource in most developing countries. However, despite its growing popularity, animal traction farmers face several constraints such as rapid ploughshare wear, high draught forces and poor design of harnesses and other implements. Also, farmers and researchers have placed little emphasis on the importance of draught animal welfare issues. The main objective of the thesis was to study the performance of draught animal-implement system to improve productivity and welfare. The specific objectives were to: (i) develop and test cast steel ploughshares for abrasive wear rate and perform comparative analysis; (ii) investigate optimum cutting edge thicknesses in relation to draught force and heart rates of work animals; (iii) analyse the effects of yoke design and loading transport implements on the productivity, comfort and welfare of oxen and camels; (iv) investigate the maximum loads that a camel can pull with carts and sledges without compromising its welfare. The methodologies adopted were laboratory investigations into ploughshare chemical composition, hardness and production methods, cast steel share development, and field-testing of shares, yokes and transport implements. The following conclusions were drawn from the study: (i) The newly developed cast steel shares were equally durable as the imported versions, and more durable than the local blacksmith forged shares (ii) The 2-4 mm share thicknesses emerged as the optimum share cutting edges that developed the least resistant forces and minimum stresses (lowest heart rates) when pulled by the animals. (iii) The yoke designs, which have increased contact areas in the animal's neck regions were more comfortable than the traditional yokes that have small contact points on the animals. (iv) At nearly constant walking speeds, the maximum loads camels pulled with cart and sledge were 5620 N and 2490 N, which were 119-143% of their body weights and equivalent to 53-64% pull/live weight ratios. The average pull/live weight ratios for the three camels ranged from 29-51% and 15-30% for cart and sledge, respectively, making the camels to perform nearly twice transport work in pulling loaded carts compared with pulling loaded sledges The concept of performance index is introduced to evaluate draught animal power performance.


bullocks; camels; draught animals; animal power; draught animal cultivation; harness; ploughshares; wear; farm equipment; performance testing; heart rate; animal welfare; ghana; developing countries

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2007, number: 2007:70
ISBN: 978-91-576-7369-5
Publisher: Dept. of Biometry and Engineering, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      SLU Authors

    • bobobee, emmanuel

      • Department of Biometry and Engineering, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

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