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Agricultural Engineering Today
Year : 2000, Volume : 24, Issue : 3
First page : ( 7) Last page : ( 12)
Print ISSN : 0970-2962.

Ergonomical comparison of local and improved sickles for wheat harvesting by women workers

Gite L.P., Scientist in-charge, Agrawal Nidhi, Agricultural Engineer

Bhopal sub-centre of NRCWA, Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Bhopal-462038.


Harvesting is one of the most labour consuming operations in farming. Sickle is the most widely used tool for harvesting of wheat and generally women do this job. It is generally stated that an improved sickle reduces drudgery during harvesting. However, there is lack of objective data to support this fact. Therefore, this study was undertaken to compare the local and improved sickles during wheat harvesting by women workers in Bhopal region. The local sickle in Bhopal regions is of plain type and its weight is about 375g. A commercially available improved sickle is of serrated type and ils weight is about 180g. An experiment was carried out with 6 female subjecls using splilt plot design to compare the ergonomical performance of local and improved sickles in harvesting of wheat crop. Each trial duration was 30 minutes and heart rate was measured continuously during work with Polar heart rate monitors. With each subject three replications were carried out. Mean values of area harvested per hour were 150.6 m2 and 158.0 m2 for improved and local sickles respectively, however, the mean ΔHR values (increase in heart rate over rest) were 27.0 beats/min for improved sickle and 34.3 beals/min for local sickle. The corresponding increase in heart beats per m2 of area harvested was 11.1 and 13.3. The differences in mean values of ΔHR/min as well as heart beat increase per m2 of area harvested were significantly lower in case of improved sickle. The data showed that drudgery reduction due to the use of improved sickle was about 16.5% as compared to the local sickle.


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