Agricultural tractor and machinery performance and serviceability in Delta State, Nigeria
A sufficient tractor and implements utilizations in agricultural activities and their proper serviceability optimize agricultural productivities in farm operations. A study was conducted in Delta State, Nigeria assessing level of machinery utilization in farm operations and serviceable conditions. Eight (8) government owned tractors locations with 60 tractors and eight private owned farms with 29 tractors were studied. A structured questionnaire, primary and secondary sources of information were employed. Farms, establishments, and individuals connected with tractor utilizations and maintenances were reached. The data obtained were statistically analyzed. The means, coefficient of variation and the coefficient of rank correlation of the observations were determined. The results obtained revealed that 36 of the tractors were serviceable representing 40.45% of the total tractors investigated, a low percentage (23.33%) of the state tractors and a high percentage (75.86%) of the private tractors were with regression coefficients of 0.816 and 0.53; mean number of hours of work per tractor annually was 189 and 572.6 h, respectively. The standard 1000 hours per tractor annually, was not met by both sectors. The analysis indicated that 84.81% of the total hours were field crop farm, 29.97% on bush clearing and 70.03% on transportation. The rank correlation coefficient between serviceable tractors, tractor utilization and work outputs was 0.89 and 0.19, respectively. The tractors and implements performance for state and private reported effective field capacity (FCe) of 0.10 and 0.12 ha/h, theoretical field capacity (FCt) 0.46 and 0.43 ha/h and the field efficiency of 22 and 27%. These findings stood to prove that while tractors and implements enhance production, its mere acquisition without proper maintenance and adequate engagement in farm operations would not result in a corresponding increase in production.
Silas O. Nkakini