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Traction power

No change in size, 17:29, 11 September 2011
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Spelling: 'allot' change to 'a lot'.
==Sources of traction power==
In general, there are 2 sources of traction power: from animals, and from machines (engine-powered). Due to the work of [[Fernando Funes-Monzote]] in Cuba <ref>[http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/343/ Fernando Funes-Monzote's work in Cuba]</ref><ref>[http://edepot.wur.nl/122038 Farming like we're here to stay]</ref>, we know that we can reduce the energy needs as far as possible (ie a 25x reduction was noted in the documentary). However, a better balance can (possibly) be found by using more efficient machinery rather than animals. It is true that ie conventional tractors spend far too much energy compared to ie animals; however, I believe that this is due to their dimensioning. As noted in the documentary, they can not cultivate crops that are placed close together, and they are also badly designed, resulting in a huge efficiency drop. However, with better design, these downsides could be eliminated. Animals for example generate very strong greenhouse gases (methane), require allot a lot of food vs the work they do (see the article I made at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanization#Mechanical_vs_human_labour ) and are also a risk regarding ie public health (they spread disease, work as a vector, ...) As such, I think it is best to eliminate their use as an agriculture instrument (aswell as their use as a food themselves) alltogether. I believe that in the very near future, they can be replaced with smaller (automated) machines. Already, there are some pruning and weeder robots (ie Ruud), and combined with well known techniques such as crop rotation, companion planting, the use of organic pesticides (see link in forwarded message below), ... they can easily be discarded.
However, besides the ecologic and economic advantages over time, there is still the issue of the primary purchase cost, which would be much higher than that of a horse. Thus, the use of draft horses, oxes, ... for now or simply as a temporary solution (until they attained the money to built a traction engine) ''seems'' advisable. (Some more research is needed on lifetime cost, including purchase cost small & large draft horse/ox, purchase cost AT traction engine, maintenance & feed/fuel costs, offset by value of manure produced by an animal.) The reason why the purchase cost (and not the costs on long-term) may be less is because animals can be propogated at practically ''no cost at all''. On the long-term however, the efficiency losses (animals consume more calories for a given task than machines) eliminate benefits attained from the reduced purchasing cost.

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