Farm Power


Welcome to class! 

In today’s class, we will be talking about farm power. Enjoy the class!

Farm Power

farm power


  • Definition of farm power
  • Sources of farm power
  • Advantages and disadvantages of farm power

Definition of farm power

Power is the rate of doing work or the expenditure of energy. Power is measured in units of joule/seconds otherwise known as watts. Farm power is the ability provided by various sources to carry on-farm work. Farm power then can be defined as the energy, force and source used to carry out farming operations.

Sources of farm power

  • Human power:

This is the most important source of farm power without which all other sources are useless. It involves the use of a man’s intellect and/manual effort to carry out different farming activities. The great advantage of human power is man’s intelligence which means he can control the work he does.

Advantages of human power
  1. Man’s intelligence to control the work he does.
  2. Man has the advantage to control all other sources of power
  3. It is required in all farm operations
  4. It is easily controlled and available.
Disadvantages of human power
  1. The output per man per hour is very low.
  2. Total production can only be of a subsistent level.
  3. A lot of drudgeries is associated with the use of human power.
  4. Man is exposed to high or low temperature, humidity, wind, pollution etc. when used as a source of power on the farm.
  • Animal power or animal traction:

This is the use of animals in carrying out various operations on the farm. Pair of working bull yoked together, camels, donkeys etc., are common animals normally used.  Man controls the animals where they are utilized.  The power supplied by animals is for pulling a plough, harrow, planter, ridger, etc. and for transporting the farm product.

Belgian Heavy Draft Horses ClassNotes

Belgian heavy draft horses have great strength. Farmers in Belgium sometimes use these horses for ploughing instead of tractors, which can get stuck in wet soil.

Advantage of work animals
  1. The use of animal power makes much less demand of human power as it is often proving more effective in farming activities.
  2. Animals can work for a long time if properly fed.
  3. It has relatively low maintenance when compared to machines.
  4. It can handle many farm operations.
  5. It can be controlled.
Disadvantages of work animals
  1. They can refuse to work if not properly handled
  2. The cost of maintaining the animals feeding, veterinary services etc. is high
  3. Diseases may affect the efficiency of work animals
  4. There is a limitation in the output of animals particularly in a hot climate
  5. They cannot work in Tse-tse fly-infested areas.
  • Mechanical power:

This requires the use of a series of machines to carry out farm operations.  Power transmitted through engines can come directly or indirectly from electricity or the burning of fuel.

Farm power tractor classnotes

Advantages of mechanical power
  1. It can do more work per unit time more than man and animals.
  2. Unlike human and animal power there is no fear of diseases.
  3. It can be used in a tsetse fly infected area.
  4. They are the fastest and most efficient source of farm power.
  5. They make farm operations timely
Disadvantages of mechanical power
  1. High capital investment is involved in the accusation of machinery.
  2. Many tractors are laid off in West Africa due to lack of spare parts.
  3. It is not suitable for small landholdings.
  4. Intensive mechanization displaces labour from the farm and can lead to unemployment.
  5. It is not readily available.
  • Electrical power:

This is power derived from electricity or generator.  It is a neat or clean source of energy.  It is used to operate electric motors.  Motors are used to operate many modern appliances such as heater, incubator, mixer and some power tools.  Electrical power is also measured in watts.

Advantages of electrical power
  1. It is easy to operate
  2. It is efficient and it saves labour
  3. It is a cheap source of farm power
  4. It gives quick and immediate result.
  5. It can be used for various services and at different time.
Disadvantages of electrical power
  1. Electricity supply is not regular especially in developing countries like Nigeria.
  2. An electrical fault may cause serious hazards.
  3. It cannot be widely used in the field.
  4. Cost of installation and maintenance is high.
  5. It is dangerous and fatal if carelessly handled
  • Solar power:

This is the power derived from radiation, light and heat reaching the earth from the sun. This energy is the ultimate source of energy and it can be converted into electrical energy by installing solar panels. Solar energy is trapped into a photovoltaic cell or solar collectors which is then converted into electrical energy and stored in batteries or used directly.

Solar power classnotes

These solar panels convert energy from sunlight and can be used to generate electricity.

Advantages of solar power
  1. Solar power is inexhaustible.
  2. Solar energy can be used to dry crops, power machines and generate electricity.
  3. Solar energy technology is environment friendly.
  4. It is readily available.
  5. Solar panels have a long life span.
Disadvantages of solar power
  1. It requires a lot of technical know-how.
  2. It is only available during the day.
  3. Its provision cannot be controlled.
  4. It cannot be adjusted on readily stored.
  5. Excess of it can cause transpiration and evaporation.
  • Wind power:

This is the power generated by wind movement. Wind power is made possible through the use of windmill that helps to pump water out of the boreholes or in generating electricity.

A water-pumping windmill in spring, Arizona, provides water for agricultural use. The blades, or sails, are mounted at an oblique angle on the horizontal shaft. The fantail rudder steers the bladed wheel into the wind to maximize the windmill’s efficiency.

Windmill classnotes

Advantages of wind power
  1. Wind can be harnessed to drive boats, power grinders and to operate water pumps.
  2. It can be used for drying farm produce.
  3. It is cheap and available everywhere.
  4. It is used in winnowing, i.e. separation of chaff from grains.
  5. It can serve as an alternative to electrical power.
Disadvantages of wind power
  1. The supply of wind is sporadic and uncertain.
  2.  A large windmill often proves to be very expensive for the energy it produces.
  3. It cannot be stored.
  4. It is difficult to control.
  5. It is limited to certain farm operations.
  • Water power:

This is the power derived from water flowing in rivers, oceans, dams etc.  It is used in hydro-electric stations to drive the turbines.  A turbine is a rotating engine with its blade driven by water.

Electricity generators

Generators at the Bonneville Dam in Oregon produce electricity as water flows through large turbines and drives the axles of the generators. The Bonneville Dam is located on the Columbia River between the states of Oregon and Washington. The Bonneville plant is one of many hydroelectric stations in the northwestern United States.

Advantages of water power
  1. A steady and uninterrupted flow of water can be made to turn turbines or water wheels to generate electrical energy.
  2. It is used in the transportation of farm goods.
  3. It can be used to process farm produce.
  4. It is needed in seeds germination and normal growth of crops
  5. It is needed in the process of photosynthesis by plants.
Disadvantages of water power
  1. Low level of water can hinder electricity output.
  2. It is not available in all areas.
  3. It could be destructive if not carefully handled.
  4. Supply is affected by the weather.
  5. It cost a huge sum of money to set up and maintain
  • Biogas:

A method of generating power by making use of farm wastes, especially animal dung, urine etc collected and processed to produce methane gas.

Advantages of biogas
  1. A cheap source of power.
  2. It can be used to generate heat for brooding chicks.
  3. It can be used for cooking and drying.
  4. It can also be harnessed to generate electrical energy.
  5. It can easily be controlled.
Disadvantages of biogas
  1. It requires expertise which may not be easily available.
  2. It is expensive to set up and maintain.
  3. It is not a common source of power.
  4. It is restricted to where animals are reared on a commercial basis.
  5. If not properly handled, it can lead to fire incidence.
  1. List two farm operations each requiring the use of A. Machine B. Electricity C.  Wind  D.  Solar radiation
  2. In what way is human power the most important source of farm power?


In our next class, we will be talking about Farm Mechanization.  We hope you enjoyed the class.

Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.

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