PERFORMANCE EVALUATION AND ECONOMIC ATTAINABILITY OF THE CHINESE WALKING TYPE SELF-PROPELLED REAPER FOR RICE HARVESTING IN NEPAL
Manual harvesting (sickle), a most common practice for majority of the farm households is a labour and time intensive practices in Nepal. Therefore, there is need of harvesting mechanization option suitable for smallholder farmers to replace the manual harvesting of rice. Hence, a study was conducted to evaluate the performance of a self-propelled reaper, originally developed in China, under local farmer field condition in Lalitpur district. Reaper was evaluated in terms of different performance parameters such as field capacities, field efficiency, fuel consumption, harvesting grain loss, and associated harvesting labour and cost. The average effective field capacity of the reaper (machine harvesting) was obtained as 0.13 ha/h with a field efficiency of 68.69 % at an average operating speed and wheel slip of 1.72 km/hr and 5.46%, respectively while that of sickle harvesting (manual method) was 0.0084 ha/hr. The average fuel consumption of selfpropelled reaper was obtained as 1.32 L/h. The average grain harvesting losses of 1.36% and 1.73 % were found in machine harvesting and manual harvesting. A labour saving of 93.54 % was achieved by the use of reaper (7.7 man–hr/ha) compared to manual harvesting (119.08 man-hr/ha). Manual harvesting needs almost 15.47 hours to harvest equal area as that by reaper in one hour. Likewise, cost saving of 30.01 % was occurred in custom hired machine harvesting (NRs 5384 /ha) with respect to manual method (NRs 7693/ha). Considering economic perspectives, the reaper becomes profitable only after 104.04 h of annual machine use which is equivalent to 13.6 ha of rice harvesting at a machine field capacity of 0.13 ha/hr with respect to investment cost of NRs 1, 80,000 and hiring charge at NRs 700 per hour. The benefit cost ratio (B/C ratio) was found out to be 1.77. The Payback period (PBP) was calculated to be 1.22 years. It can be concluded that small size reaper has possibility of becoming one of the suitable harvesting technology (custom hiring) for hilly and mountainous areas of Nepal where sickle harvesting is currently followed.
Economical aspects, gasoline, harvesting, performance evaluation, rice, self-propelled reaper