Farm mechanisation in the Indian agricultural scenario is still in its developing stages. A larger portion of the farming population of the country falls into the small and marginal segment. Hence, affordability of farming equipment and the size of the yield are some of the factors that come into play. Hence, the power tiller category hasn’t seen much growth in the past several years.
However, if compared, then utility wise, power tillers can perform a lot of functions just like tractors in the fields. Tractors cannot till the land, cultivate crops, and are especially difficult to use in smaller fields.
Utility in Rice fields
Power tillers are particularly useful in rice fields. Puddling is a very important concept in cultivating rice. It involves tilling the soil under floodwater to remove the air spaces and break clods. The water needs to be kept at a minimum depth of 5 centimetres, but should not go so deep as to drown the crop.
Puddling makes the soil soft, as it is submerged under water. Hence, when a heavier vehicle like a tractor is used for puddling, the effect can be deeper than required. A power tiller, owing to its lighter make, is optimum for this task. It does not till the soil too deep, but does it thoroughly. Similarly, for smaller rice fields, a tractor proves to be too big. A smaller-sized power tiller does the work well. The same works for riding smaller fields, where the rows need to narrow and compact. The smaller size of the power tiller comes in very handy for these functions. The top rice producing countries in the world make use of power tillers to cultivate their crop.
China is the highest rice producing country in the world, and Sifang and Dongfeng Motors are two of the main suppliers in the country. Next in line is India, with companies like Crompton Greaves, Shrachi, VST and KOEL, Indonesia (Quick Tractors, Yanmar), Vietnam (VEAM), Thailand (Siam Kubota), and Japan (Kubota, Yanmar, Mitsubishi).
The rise of the tiller
Some reasons for the lack of popularity of power tillers were no new development in products, lack of engineering, drudgery in operations, etc. On the contrary, the tractor category surged in the past few years, with a currently estimated 6.5 lacs in usage. A tractor is not a viable investment for a small or marginal farmer because of the high purchase cost and relatively small land holdings.
Kirloskar Oil Engines Limited started looking for solutions in this direction, given their vast expertise and experience in this field. After a lot of market research and innovation, it launched its newest product called the MEGA T. This is groundbreaking invention that’s being called a ‘category creator product’. It has been positioned in the category of ‘looks like a tiller, works like a tractor’.
Breaking new ground
The MEGA T is a pioneering product that combines the utility of a tiller with the comfort and safety of a tractor. It has central balancing, a comfortable and ergonomically designed seat, proper brakes and a cerametallic clutch. Utility wise, it performs the same functions as a tractor or other power tillers, like puddling, inter-culture, hauling a large quantity of produce, as well as primary and secondary cultivation, wet and dry land usage, crop care and in-field movement of the produce.
Another highlight of this power tiller is the hydraulically actuated brakes, which makes it safe as well as easier to operate the machine in difficult terrain.
This has brought a new hope to small and marginal farmers. With the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of the machine, these farmers can now increase their yield and make profits.