In-village studies of the use of work oxen in central Mali
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Tropical Animal Health and Production;27(4): 241-248
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/29750
Amongst 186 farmers interviewed in 1986 in central Mali 95 percent declared having used oxen for at least some part of their crop production activities. Most of the users (98 percent) had exploited oxen for soil preparation, but only 66 percent had used animal-drawn equipment for weeding. Only 21 percent of respondents attributed problems with field operations to deficiency in oxen work-capacity. On average oxen undertook 22 days of primary cultivation and 11 days of weeding in 1989. All the work observed was carried out using oxen harnessed in pairs. Soil preparation consisted principally of ridging with a single-furrow plough (16 days work) and this was carried out at an average working speed of 0.75 m.s.-1 with an average draft force of 778 N. Inter-row weeding was generally made with a duck-foot harrow working at 0.77 m.s.-1 at an average draft force of 610 N. The average work load in primary cultivations was 138 N. 100 kg-1 liveweight and for weeding 120 N. 100 kg-1 liveweight. Liveweight and size of oxen had no evident effect on working performance. Energy consumption in work was estimated at 144 percent and 136 percent of maintenance requirement for primary cultivation and weeding respectively.