- February 15, 2010 at 10:30 pm #56518jacParticipant
Tim in 1988 the Shire Horse Society in the UK did a major study into the use of horses. One chapter was on local deliveries and it was found that horses versus lorries were exactly the same . No cheaper or more expensive even once all the extra labour was taken into account with horses.. The book is called “History with a Future” I could post the chapter if it would help..
JohnFebruary 16, 2010 at 12:23 am #56457Carl RussellModerator
In terms of the labor per unit of production, I see that as one of the benefits of working with horses. With machinery, the labor per unit has to be lower, because the operational costs of the machine are much higher.
If the laborer in the HP is not the owner, then perhaps the owner of the horses is then cutting and contributing to an increased level of production. If the laborer is the owner then the money is more representative of the owners contribution to the operation in terms of skill, husbandry, and experience.
The income from HP operations is dedicated more toward personal expenses, where a large part of income from machinery operations is dedicated to fixed and variable costs of the machine.
By the way, are machinery operators really are getting paid $20/hour?
CarlFebruary 16, 2010 at 2:07 am #56468near horseParticipant
I know someone running equipment for a logging operation pulling in closer to $35/hr.February 16, 2010 at 4:06 am #56461Rick AlgerParticipant
I oversimplified the pay/labor cost thingy. The last I knew a grapple skidder employee around here was paid in the $12 to $17per hr. range. Throw in workers comp, fica etc and you come out around $20 as a labor cost to the employer.
The teamster labor rate I ballparked as equal to the skidder labor cost. After overhead, I don’t generally make that much myself but I gather guys like you and Jason, and others do.
I believe the logging pay out west is considerably better than in northern NH. I hired a guy to twitch for me this fall for $8 an hour, and he was happy to get it. I know we’re not the gold standard, but for discussion purposes I like to stick with what I know.
p.s. I am in no way advocating for machinery. I’m just trying to point out something that occurred to me regarding the “efficiency” of head-to-head competition with machines.February 16, 2010 at 1:01 pm #56458Carl RussellModerator
I was just going over these numbers.
I changed the assumptions a bit.
If two horses eat hay and grain then maybe their consumption is more like 125Mcal/day. Thinking about Rick’s example… cut wood at 500′, I would have to say that the production for horses would be more like 2MBF/8hrday.
125Mcal/2MBF = 62.5 Mcal/MBF
The Machine at 15MBF/8hrday would be 888Mcal/15MBF = 59.2 Mcal/MBF
Seems like a virtual tie, which goes back to what Geoff was saying about the energy required to move a weight over a certain distance.
The added details of cost break down are bit more distracting, but there is a reality of how much the energy costs, and how that relates to overall efficiency.
I can say that in most cases I can average about $35/hr when working by the MBF, based on production. That cost covers my time and all expenses. This may also have something to do with the fact that I am also the forester, so I am not getting squeezed in the economics between forester and landowner.
CarlFebruary 16, 2010 at 1:38 pm #56462Rick AlgerParticipant
Yeah, the energy expended came out pretty close in my example also.
I agree that a good teamster in good wood can do way more than 1.6 mbf a day. The winter I cut for Les Barden, he averaged 3.6 mbf a day over 55 working days. On one good day he did over 6.
But for my example I was offering what I thought would be a reasonable average under average conditions over time.
As far as the hourly rate goes, I’m still in the John Henry mode-though not by choice. It is indeed difficult to sell silvicultural services if you are not a forester. But there is a light beginning to flicker at the end of the tunnel.February 16, 2010 at 1:58 pm #56491
Just to be clear on my energy numbers, my animal nutrition text lists NRC values for digestible energy for most forage hay and pasture close to 1 Mcal/lb and cereal grains and by-products about 1.5 Mcal/lb. It is interesting that the energy equivalents are about the same for both systems.February 16, 2010 at 4:11 pm #56519jacParticipant
And the horse based energy is sustainable and of benefit to the local community..farriers, vets, feed merchants and local engineers all benefit.. machinery based business usually exports the benefits in the form of money. the operator being local spends some locally but the finance on the harvester and overdraft payments as well as spare parts are all sourced miles away.. no benefit to community.
JohnMarch 15, 2010 at 4:20 pm #56520farmerkittyParticipant
My name is Andrea Johnson. I live in WA, USA. Check out this website/paper with the formulas for HP and how it is applied. It might be of help.March 15, 2010 at 5:00 pm #56521farmerkittyParticipant
try this paper from tillersinternational. http://www.tillersinternational.org-farming-resources-techguides. Give that a try. It has the formulas for horse/foot steps/kw… and more. Good Luck! 🙂March 21, 2010 at 10:13 pm #56475
That link is not working for me.March 23, 2010 at 7:01 pm #56463near horseParticipant
The link isn’t working for me either but I think Andrea is referencing this part of Tiller’s site (redone) http://www.tillersinternational.org/farming/resources.html
Also, how difficult would it be for a team to pull a single disc over intact sod/vegetated ground to start breaking it down? Most pics you see are 3 or 4 abreast but are working in plowed ground. If you remember the old JD plowing diagrams – disc first, then plow, then disc again.March 24, 2010 at 5:59 pm #56474near horse;16951 wrote:how difficult would it be for a team to pull a single disc over intact sod/vegetated ground to start breaking it down? Most pics you see are 3 or 4 abreast but are working in plowed ground. If you remember the old JD plowing diagrams – disc first, then plow, then disc again.
Generally the pull will be related to how much, how far and how fast soil is displaced. So while a low gang angle will move nearly as much soil as a greater gang angle it is not moving it as fast or as far so less force is required. And at a given depth a consolidated soil will require breaking and fracturing in addition to moving so undisturbed ground will be more than tilled ground. But in usual practice the low weight of single gang disks limits depth penetration and draft. On sod the penetration and soil movement will generally be quite low although in wet ground (too wet for tillage) that might not be the case. Mostly I would expect lower disk draft on sod than in tilled soil, with vegetative ground such as winter wheat in the spring or recently planted cover crops it is hard to tell, maybe not much different from tilled ground.
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