Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forum › Draft Animal Power › Oxen › field work with oxen in permanent bed system on slanting land › Reply To: field work with oxen in permanent bed system on slanting land
Reading your post makes me think of the agricultural landscape in the Andean mountains. There oxen are used for plowing, harrowing & hilling on slopes. These are slopes where a tractor doesn´t enter. Added are two pictures of Ecuador. One of a field being harrowed and plowed. The other shows a field that was just plowed by oxen.
People in South America asked me about using animal traction machinery like the European tool carrier there. My thought on that is if its really steep field, I would use a walk behind cultivator.
The farm in Ecuador, to whom I delivered and integrated a European tool carrier, has a slope of 15%. The same as the tractor, the Kockerling tool carrier works fine there on such a slope. They use one horse for the machine, in broccoli and leeks.
A team in front of such a tool carrier is possible too. With the permanent grass-paths bed system the animals could walk the paths
Cultivators with a ridge or crest on the wheels would have an advantage on a slope.
The steel wheels of for example the I&J riding cultivator have a ridge/crest. This gives the machine more stabilty from sideward pressure. Comparable to the wheels of a ground driven mower, but with a bigger crest.
When working off-set, the further or/and deeper that goes, the bigger sideward pressure on the machine/draftanimal will be. The soil type also has and effect on this.
Such work would put uneven pressure on the draft animal. If that´s high and for hours, it might not be pleasant. I think its like pushing a wheelbarrow in front of you, but offset. A bit off-set and for a short while with a light load that´s ok. Changing sides would help too.
This sideward pressure depends also on the type of machine being used. Like a walk behind cultivator with a setup like the hitching piont on a walk behind plow (Like Kevin mentioned).
For a tool carrier it would be different when a single horse is put off-set. Interesting would be to solve the sideward pressure on the machine so the animal walks “free”.
What the stabilizer bars on the tractor concerns, using the tiller is heavy work. When these bars are not set, a machine seeks its “own path”. Especially a rotating tiller. Even on flat land, when seeding for example, I would set these bars tight enough so that the seeder follows the tractor directly. Without “wandering off”.
Would this side pressure be experienced with the draft animals too?
Not as much as with tiller behind the tractor. The (percentage of the) slope does influence this.
When working with an off-sett “walk behind cultivator” it could be forced to work uphill by the created side draft. Letting the animal walk next to the crop and setting the line of draft in such way, that it will follow the machine straight. In this way it will be compensating from following the land slope. When set very off-set, the rear part of the cultivator turn downwards.
It depends on the percentage of the slope and when needed on the off-set adjustment on the machinery. Too much off-set would make the rear of walk behind cultivator turn.
What you mention with a team and a neck yoke makes sense to me. That is seen a lot in the Andean oxen culture.