Comprising about 19% of the total labor cost in rice production, land preparation can be worrisome for farmers.
Experts at the Rice Engineering and Mechanization Division (REMD) of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) find ways to ease farm drudgery while reducing labor cost. They developed a 3-disc plow attachment for hand tractors to make land preparation less laborious and more economical for farmers.
Engr. Elmer Bautista of PhilRice’s REMD said that the 3-disc plow was found to increase the field capacity of the conventional attachment (2-disc plow) thereby cutting the cost of plowing operations.
Bautista’s team tested the 3-disc plow at the PhilRice Central Experiment Station in Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija. It was attached to a hand tractor with 8-horsepower engine with a similar frame as the traditional one.
Results of the field test showed that the 3-disc plow is advantageous in terms of increased field capacity and economically more feasible than the common 2-disc plow.
The operation field efficiency using the 3-disc plow was 94.2%, which indicates that 5.8% of the time was consumed for activities other than actual plowing. It had an advantage cutting width of 75 cm, 22 cm more than the 2-disc plow (53 cm).
At a prevailing land preparation cost of P4,500/ha, the 3-disc plow could generate an annual net income of P72,662.40, higher than the annual net income of the 2-disc plow which is P46,513.20.
The two types of plow attachments were similar in terms of travelling speed, fuel consumption, and engine power.
Currently, Bautista’s team is looking for an accredited manufacturer to mass produce the 3-disc plow attachment and make it commercially available to consumers.
“We are taking the necessary steps for the accreditation of our patented design of the 3-disc plow attachment so that our farmers can use it as soon as possible,” Bautista said.
To know more about the 3-disc plow attachment, farmers may contact the PhilRice Text Center at 0920 911 1398.