Power Supplied By Draft Animals

APPROX-

AVERAGE

X

AVG.

IMATE

SPEED OF

POWER

WEIGHT

DRAFT

WORK

DEVL.

ANIMAL

KG

KG

KM/HR

H.P.

LIGHT HORSES

400-700

60-80

3.6

1.0

OXEN

500-900

60-80

2.0-3.0

.75

WATER BUFFALOS

400-900

50-80

2.9-3.2

.75

COWS

400-600

50-60

2.5

.45

MULES

350-500

50-60

3.2-3.6

.70

ASSES

200-300

30-40

2.5

.35

CAMELS

450-550

40-50

4.0

.67

Adapted from FAO Ag. Devi. Paper No. 91.

Adapted from FAO Ag. Devi. Paper No. 91.

In general, a draft animal can pull approximately one-tenth of its weight. Horses provide a higher output than the other animals in relation to body weight. Just as an internal combustion engine requires high-quality fuel to perform well, an animal requires a sufficient amount of high-quality fuel to develop maximum power. The availability of fuel (feed) affects the choice of draft animal. Oxen, water buffalo, and camels can be thought of as low-octane engines able to perform on low-quality feed such as coarse forages while the horse can put out more power but demands higher-energy fuel in the form of grain. Asses and mules are intermediate on this fuel scale.

Like man, animals can, during a short period of overload, develop large bursts of power. A good pair of draft horses have been able to develop 20 to 25 horsepower for ten seconds while a yoke of good oxen have developed 20 to 30 horsepower over a distance of 100 yards. Compared to the power which a draft animal can produce over a six- to ten-hour day, the maximum power which can be maintained for five to 30 minutes is four times as great while the maximum power which can be exerted over a few seconds is 25 times as great.

Animals must receive periods of rest. In general, horses and mules can be worked eight to ten hours daily but should be given a break at noon. Adult oxen can be worked for six to eight hours although younger oxen or poorly fed animals may only work four hours daily. Water buffalos are worked approximately six hours per day. It is impossible to provide precise data for draft animals since performance depends upon an animal's individual characteristics such as breed, weight, sex, age, health, training, and feed quality.

Harness is the means by which the animal's effort is applied to the load. Poorly designed and ill-fitting harness not only reduces the available power but also causes the animal to suffer. When one animal cannot provide sufficient draft or power, a number of animals can be harnessed together as a team, but at a loss in individual efficiency. In general, if animals of equal strength are harnessed together as a team, the draft of a single animal working alone should be multiplied by 1.9 for two animals; by 2.5 for three; by 3,1 for four; by 3.5 for five, and by 3.8 for six. If six oxen are yoked together, the resultant draft will be double that of two oxen.

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