The use of high yielding wheat varieties (HYV), fertilizers, irrigation practices and tractors for improved cultural practices brought about a tremendous increase in yield per acre and total production. This increased production also brought about a need for additional agricultural mechanization. During the harvesting season, there was a shortage of labor. This labor shortage, coupled with heavy rains, caused a large quantity of wheat loss each year. A solution to the problem was a partially mechanized system involving a “reaper-windrower” which could be operated with a tractor. After reaping, farmers could then gather the crops for mechanical threshing. This technology was relatively simple and less expensive as compared to the combine harvesting.
Technology Development, Demonstration and Commercialization
The Farm Machinery Institute (FMI) of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council introduced the reaper-windrower in the early 1980s. The design was based on a Chinese machine. These imported machines were not successful in Pakistan. The indigenous machines were satisfactory, but needed improvement. Following considerable improvement of the machines, FMI was successful in convincing manufacturers and farmers to adopt this innovative machine. Many demonstrations and exhibitions were organized throughout Pakistan for industrial extension of the reaper-windrower. In the middle of 1980s, manufacturers started manufacturing and selling reaper-windrowers to farmers.
The reaper-windrower harvests and windrows wheat and rice crops. It is a tractor front mounted machine. It is an intermediate technology between manual and combine harvesting. It saves time and labor. It is an important technology to save bhoosa for cattle feeding contrary to combines. There are 30,000 units in operation with farmers (2006). Its operating cost is Rs. 1800 per hectare. Its financial benefit is Rs. 1500 per hectare mostly resulting through timeliness of operation and reduced labour input. Its per annum benefit to the country is Rs. 2579 million and total benefit of Rs. 15,000 million since 1985.
Akhtar, J., Ahmad, I. S. and Z. U. Rehman. (1982). Test Report 2.0 Meter AMD Reaper-windrower. Agricultural Machinery Division, ARC, Islamabad.