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Farm Mechanization: Removing the last barrier in Bangladesh

Homo Sapiens

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Japnese yield is 2,200 kg per acre. What is the yield in BD? It is about 800kg for each harvest. BD soil is not that fertile.
Where did you get this 2200kg and 800kg per acre? And please stick to Hectare and avoid acre to keep it simple. All the world and global agricultural institutions like FAO uses Hectare, ton, kg, meter to publish their data. Only United States is still stuck with traditional Acre, feet, bushel kind of measurement.

It seems, you calculated this 2200 kg and 800 kg figure from 6.3 ton and 4.8 ton yield of paddy respectively in Japan and Bangladesh I mentioned earlier and divided that into 3 to get the yield per acre ! although 1 hectare =2.47 acres. More over you again divided Bangladesh's yield into 2 to accommodate two crop in a year to reach the 800 kg per acre in per harvest ! This is totally unconventional and riddled with mistakes.

First of all, FAOSTAT from which I quoted the data already taken into account of Bangladesh's multiple paddy harvest in a same plot of land to find Bangladesh's yield of 4.8 ton per hectare.There are terms like gross cultivated area and net cultivated area used by agricultural institution to separate the single cropped land and multiple cropped land.

Gross cultivated land means, land area required to produce one harvest per year even in cases where the land produce multiple crops while net cultivated land means amount of actual land produced multiple harvests in a same plot.

Suppose, a farmer get 5 tons of paddy per harvest from his 1 hectare of land twice in a year. In this case, his net cultivated land would be 1 hectare but gross cultivated land would be 2 hectare and the yield would be 5 tons and total paddy 10 tons.

According to FAO data, in 2019, Bangladesh harvested 54.5 million ton paddy (not rice, 1000 kg paddy usually gives 600-650 kg milled rice) from 11.5 million hectares land, yield 4739 kg per hectare. While Japan got 10.5 million ton paddy from 1.5 million hectares land, yield 6826 kg per hectare. See the data here-

Now do you think, Bangladesh actually produce paddy on 11.5 million hectares? when it's total net cultivated land is no more than 8 million hectares? Of course not. This 11.5 million figure is gross cultivated paddy land where land is counted twice if it gives 2 paddy crops a year, counted thrice if it gives three paddy crops per year. This is how it got 11.5 million hectares in case of Bangladesh.

Our real net cultivated land dedicated to paddy cultivation is no more than 6 million hectares. But this 6 million hectares actual land give us paddy equivalent of 11.5 million hectares due to multiple cropping. The 4.8 ton per hectare paddy for Bangladesh is thus from gross cultivated hectare, not from net cultivated hectare. Our net cultivated yield from each hectare would be around 9 ton per hectare, above Japan's 6.8 ton per hectare. I hope it got clear to you now.
BD soil is not that fertile. It produces this much because of the use of chemical fertilizer in huge quantities.
I don't understand your this obsession of 'proving' Bangladesh's land is not fertile.

And chemical fertilizer uses in land is comparable in both Bangladesh and Japan. Bangladesh apply on average 289kg fertilizer on each hectare of land while Japan uses 242 kg per hectare. By world standard both of these figure are medium. China apply 503 kg fertilizer in each hectare of land.

Contrary to your claim here, Bangladesh actually still not utilizing it's true potential of quality land it got. It's land is heavily fragmented, farmers are uneducated or poorly educated about scientific cultivation, minimal application of modern equipment, lack of irrigation infrastructure. Solve these problems like Japan, our yield will increase even farther.
 
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The main source of Japanese organic fertilizer is paddy straws. They cut the upper sheaf from time immemorial and leave the straws in the fileld. After the harvest the farmers tilt the land only one time after rainfall makes it wet and soft.

This causes the straws to rot and become a part of the soil. Wet straws then keep on mixing with the soil for more than 8 months until the next season. This is the main organic source of Japanese fertilizer. Another big source is of course is the composting cow manure as well as tree leaves.

However, the Japanese farmers supplement the shortage by adding also a minimum quantity of chemical fertilizer as well. But, organic fertilizer remains their main source. Japan has the greatest productivity.

On average, it is 2,200 kg per acre. The main point is the soil in Japan has a lot of organic matters because of volcanic eruptions since time immemorial. So, the soil is basically very fertile.
Yeah they’re replacing humus, in regards to Bangladesh, we don’t have to do as much as we have constant source of silt... whereas their soil is volcanic sourced which is not suitable for growth until the rocks breaks down for millions of years. Phosphorus however is still either mineral sourced or from animals. So cattle’s or the white rocks sold all over the world.
 

bluesky

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Where did you get this 2200kg and 800kg per acre? And please stick to Hectare and avoid acre to keep it simple. All the world and global agricultural institutions like FAO uses Hectare, ton, kg, meter to publish their data. Only United States is still stuck with traditional Acre, feet, bushel kind of measurement.

It seems, you calculated this 2200 kg and 800 kg figure from 6.3 ton and 4.8 ton yield of paddy respectively in Japan and Bangladesh I mentioned earlier and divided that into 3 to get the yield per acre ! although 1 hectare =2.47 acres. More over you again divided Bangladesh's yield into 2 to accommodate two crop in a year to reach the 800 kg per acre in per harvest ! This is totally unconventional and riddled with mistakes.

First of all, FAOSTAT from which I quoted the data already taken into account of Bangladesh's multiple paddy harvest in a same plot of land to find Bangladesh's yield of 4.8 ton per hectare.There are terms like gross cultivated area and net cultivated area used by agricultural institution to separate the single cropped land and multiple cropped land.

Gross cultivated land means, land area required to produce one harvest per year even in cases where the land produce multiple crops while net cultivated land means amount of actual land produced multiple harvests in a same plot.

Suppose, a farmer get 5 tons of paddy per harvest from his 1 hectare of land twice in a year. In this case, his net cultivated land would be 1 hectare but gross cultivated land would be 2 hectare and the yield would be 5 tons and total paddy 10 tons.

According to FAO data, in 2019, Bangladesh harvested 54.5 million ton paddy (not rice, 1000 kg paddy usually gives 600-650 kg milled rice) from 11.5 million hectares land, yield 4739 kg per hectare. While Japan got 10.5 million ton paddy from 1.5 million hectares land, yield 6826 kg per hectare. See the data here-

Now do you think, Bangladesh actually produce paddy on 11.5 million hectares? when it's total net cultivated land is no more than 8 million hectares? Of course not. This 11.5 million figure is gross cultivated paddy land where land is counted twice if it gives 2 paddy crops a year, counted thrice if it gives three paddy crops per year. This is how it got 11.5 million hectares in case of Bangladesh.

Our real net cultivated land dedicated to paddy cultivation is no more than 6 million hectares. But this 6 million hectares actual land give us paddy equivalent of 11.5 million hectares due to multiple cropping. The 4.8 ton per hectare paddy for Bangladesh is thus from gross cultivated hectare, not from net cultivated hectare. Our net cultivated yield from each hectare would be around 9 ton per hectare, above Japan's 6.8 ton per hectare. I hope it got clear to you now.

I don't understand your this obsession of 'proving' Bangladesh's land is not fertile.

And chemical fertilizer uses in land is comparable in both Bangladesh and Japan. Bangladesh apply on average 289kg fertilizer on each hectare of land while Japan uses 242 kg per hectare. By world standard both of these figure are medium. China apply 503 kg fertilizer in each hectare of land.

Contrary to your claim here, Bangladesh actually still not utilizing it's true potential of quality land it got. It's land is heavily fragmented, farmers are uneducated or poorly educated about scientific cultivation, minimal application of modern equipment, lack of irrigation infrastructure. Solve these problems like Japan, our yield will increase even farther.
What a stupidly long post!! Unlike you, I have only less than 30 minutes every day to read or write in the PDF. I thought an educated guy understands hectare, acre, decimal, etc. Where did you find in BD that people use the hectare unit? They always use acre and decimals. Please find out the rice acreage from a conversion table. Do not you have your own family land? Read the excerpt below to know about rice acreage:

"Rice is grown on about 10.5 million hectares which has remained almost stable over the past three decades. About 75% of the total cropped area and over 80% of the total irrigated area is planted to rice. Thus, rice plays a vital role in the livelihood of the people of Bangladesh".

I calculated and it is about 20.7 million acres of rice area. Did I make any mistakes? Please learn how to convert. About 2.47 acres make one hectare.

PDF Administrator may open a mathematics class!!!
 

Homo Sapiens

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What a stupidly long post!! Unlike you, I have only less than 30 minutes every day to read or write in the PDF. I thought an educated guy understands hectare, acre, decimal, etc. Where did you find in BD that people use the hectare unit? They always use acre and decimals. Please find out the rice acreage from a conversion table. Do not you have your own family land? Read the excerpt below to know about rice acreage:

"Rice is grown on about 10.5 million hectares which has remained almost stable over the past three decades. About 75% of the total cropped area and over 80% of the total irrigated area is planted to rice. Thus, rice plays a vital role in the livelihood of the people of Bangladesh".

I calculated and it is about 20.7 million acres of rice area. Did I make any mistakes? Please learn how to convert. About 2.47 acres make one hectare.

PDF Administrator may open a mathematics class!!!
Not everyone in this world is a walking talking calculator like you. You may find switching between Hectare and Acre by multiplying or dividing the data by 2.47 instantly in your calculator brain, but most of the people can not. That's why I urged you to stick with one. As almost all the agricultural references in Bangladesh and the world(except US) are in Hectare. So I requested you to use that to keep it simple for other people so that they can compare with data I posted.

Common people may use Acre, decimal in their day to day conversation, but look at our Agricultural data published by our govt. institutions, those are in Hectare in line with world standard.
 

Bilal9

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Agricultural mechanization: Bangladesh, Thailand and Vietnam perspective


January 3, 2021
1609614965_5


The agriculture of Bangladesh has now reached a stage of prosperity due to the tireless work of the dedicated farmers and the favorable policy of the government in obtaining agricultural inputs. However, the cost of production is still increasing at an exorbitant rate due to waste and inefficiency at various levels of agricultural work and high cost and inadequacy of agricultural labor. Farmers are not able to benefit. On the other hand, due to the negative effects of climate, crops are being destroyed due to a lack of timely harvesting. Mechanization in agriculture is a major solution to overcome all these problems.

Although power tillers and tractors have been used for cultivation in different parts of the country for decades, the use of machinery for planting, cutting, and drying has only just begun. Due to limited purchasing power of farmers, diversification, the inadequacy of field (muddy, variety of paddy plants, bent paddy, etc.), lack of skilled machine operators and mechanics, the spread of agricultural machinery is being delayed and the machinery is failing to demonstrate efficiency. Considering all these factors, it is now imperative to establish a team institutional base and increase the infrastructure in all areas of farming for profitable and commercial farming needs and to radically change the coordination of farmers, machine entrepreneurs, and rural mechanics.

In the country, the land is getting smaller and smaller, the pile is increasing and the agricultural land is decreasing. It is not possible to achieve the desired efficiency of the machine due to extra time and energy wasted in transporting the machine and rotating it in small squares, hence it is not possible to get the full benefits of mechanization.

The initiative to establish a modern integrated mechanical farm for large scale crop production in the same cropping pattern by providing competitive agricultural entrepreneurship within the management of large farmer groups in the same management co-operative concept, ensuring service of agricultural machinery, machine servicing, and repair services. As a result of its successful implementation, it will be possible to increase the efficiency of the machinery by reducing the cost and time of crop production and reducing the working time of various machinery.

In order to expand the mechanized agricultural system, it is essential to increase the supply of modern machinery at the field level and to make skilled manpower available to operate and repair the machinery. So providing long-term residential training on machinery operation and repair along with the supply of agricultural machinery is essential.

Arrangements have been made for the construction of a modern training building as well as 1 dormitory. Besides, initiatives need to be taken to set up Mechanical Training Facilities at Agricultural Training Institutes (ATIs) in 16 districts of the country under the Department of Agricultural Extension. This will not only be beneficial for field-level mechanics but will also play an important role in creating training infrastructure at the local level.

Mechanization status
Agricultural mechanization is considered all over the world as the key factor for increasing the productivity of farm workers, timely sowing, and low-cost production. In modern times, powered machinery has replaced many farm jobs formerly carried out by manual labor or by working animals. The entire history of agriculture contains many examples of the use of tools, such as the hoe and the plow. But the ongoing integration of machines since the Industrial Revolution has allowed farming to become less labor-intensive all over the world. Mechanization level and policy adopted for implementation in Thailand and Vietnam are stated below.

Mechanization in Thailand
Mechanization plays a crucial role in Thailand, where agriculture is rapidly transforming from subsistence farming to an agribusiness model on the country’s 46.6 % total land allocation to agricultural activities. Agricultural mechanization in Thailand started in 1891 with the import of steam-powered tractors and rotary hoes by the government.

Since then the country has witnessed several milestones in mechanization development. Current mechanized agriculture includes the use of tractors, trucks, combine harvesters, countless types of farm implements as well as airplanes and helicopters (for aerial application at the research level), and other vehicles.

Agricultural mechanization for rice production has been the most impressive compared to other crops. The central plain of the country is the highest and nearly full mechanized region. Currently, there are two modes of utilizing agricultural machinery: as an owner and/or through custom hiring service. There exists considerable variation across the regions in Thailand in terms of agricultural machinery utilization. Labor shortage and the necessity to lower production costs in agriculture make mechanization an inevitable solution in the present agricultural landscape in Thailand.

The number of agricultural tractors per 1,000 ha of arable land in Thailand has exponentially increased since the 1960s. On average, there are above 50 tractors per 1,000 ha of arable land in Thailand. There exists considerable variation across the regions in Thailand in terms of agricultural machinery utilization.

For land preparation, power tillers, tractors, and rotavators are commonly used. For crop care, knapsack sprayers, power sprayers, and high-pressure pumps with hoses are popularly used. For harvesting paddy, Thai-made combine harvesters are mostly used in irrigated areas; whereas in rainfed areas manual harvesting by sickle is still used. In the case of manual harvesting, rice threshers are employed.

The ratio of machine owners to the machine hiring service depends on the machine size, type, and price. Small and inexpensive machines are usually owned by farmers, such as power tillers, water pumps, sprayers, etc. In the case of 4-wheeled tractors and power-operated threshers, only 6.4 % and 6 % of the total equipment are currently owned by Thai farmers, the majority is acquired through custom hiring services. Moreover, in Thailand there is still a considerable number of small/marginalized farmers, having very small landholding and/or located in remote/ unreachable rural areas, who cannot call for the custom hiring services.

For mechanization, different regions require different mechanization solutions. Big, sophisticated, and control-intensive machines such as harvesters, planters, and electric sprayers are being used in the central plains of Thailand where farmers are more progressive and farm size large. However, there is still a lot of effort to modify/adjust these sophisticated/imported macs appropriately to adapt to local conditions.

On the contrary, in the North and Northeastern regions, farmers are relatively resource-poor and their farms are small. Farmers in these regions using labor-intensive machines such as power tillers, water pumps, and manually operated sprayers. There is a growing market for 4-wheeled tractors under 30 kW, along with matching rotary implements.

These tractors are replacing the existing power tillers in rice production systems of the Central plain region and the lower part of the Northern region. Similarly, farmers are looking forward to appropriate and efficient harvesters for rice and sugarcane, as an acute shortage of labor during peak harvesting season results in losses both in terms of timeliness and in terms of the total cost of harvesting.

Mechanization in Vietnam
Since the economic and social reform in the late 80s, the private sector has rapidly emerged as the major player in meeting the demand for greater farm power uses, including the domestic manufacturing of power tillers, the introduction of larger combine harvesters, and individual machine owners emerging as the primary suppliers of hiring services.

Currently, agricultural mechanization in Vietnam increasing rapidly. The total number of tractors in 2013 increased by 1.4 times, and the number of harvesters increased by 4.3 times in comparison to 2006. The rate of mechanization for land preparation is 80% of the total area of arable land. On average, the power input per cultivated hectare reached up to 1.6 horsepower (HP) and for rice 2.2 HP/hectare.

The rate of rice land preparation mechanization, rice threshing, and the combination of the harvester in the whole country is 95%, 50%, and 50% respectively. The total number of dryers decreased by 8%, however, drying capacity increased by 20% because small dryers (1-4 tons/ batch) have been gradually replaced by large productive dryers (10-30 tons/ batch).

Presently, there are more than 500,000 tractors and power tillers, with existing capacities of 6.5 million horsepower (HP). Moreover, there are about 900,000 agricultural machines of all kinds such as plows, hoe rotary, cultivator, and cage wheels. In addition, there are 1,500 units of harvesters, 600,237 units of threshers with existing capacities of 471,661 ton/hour, and 1,340,080 units of water pumping machines with existing capacities of 57,094,439 m3/h.

In recent years, the number of machinery used for agricultural purposes increased rapidly. For example, during 2014, the number of tractors increased by 1.6 times compared to 2006, while the number of harvesters increased by 25.6 times. Increased mechanization was mainly concentrated in the Mekong River delta area that accounts for 75% of the country’s agricultural production. Also, sprayers and plant protection machines increased up to 5.8 times, and water pumps used in agricultural production increased by 1.2 times. Although the rate of mechanization in agriculture remains limited, Vietnam has gained a lot of experience in the mechanization of rice production.

Authors: Nurul Islam, Deputy Project Director Department of Agriculture Extension and Dr. Md. Anwar Hossein, Senior Scientific Officer, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute
 

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