Effect of Variety, Soil Moisture Content and Cutting Depth on Performance of a Single Row Animal Drawn Groundnut Digger
The challenge of providing a more efficient and cost-effective ways of harvesting groundnut amongst the small holder farmers is imperative in northern Nigeria as a result of intensity of labor requirement in the task. It is reported that up to 40 % of the total labor required to grow groundnut is expanded on harvesting operation and at peak harvest periods, labor shortages often occur leading to higher costs of production and subsequent years of reduction in yield due to soil nutrient loss owing to the uprooting method of manure harvesting. In order to assuage some of these challenges, a field test was conducted to evaluate operation performance of a single row animal drawn groundnut harvester developed in the department of Agricultural engineering Bayero University Kano. The effects of the control parameters of; variety of the groundnut seed planted, soil moisture content and cutting depth of the digger were studied on the performance parameters of the harvester as; digging efficiency, percentages of exposed pods loss, unexposed pods loss, undug pods loss and total of pods loss. The results obtained revealed a highly significant difference among the varieties with respect to unexposed pod loss (%), while moisture content was found to significantly affect exposed pods loss (%), total pos loss and digging efficiency. Varying the cutting depth significantly affected exposed pods (%), un-exposed pods (%), total pod loss and digging efficiency. Interaction between SAMNUT 23, moisture content of 12.4%db and cutting depth of 15 cm had digging efficiency of 97.22%, while the interactions between SAMNUT 26, moisture content of 12.4%db and cutting depth of 15 cm had digging efficiency of 95.14%. The study revealed that higher digging efficiency is obtainable with higher soil moisture content and cutting depth, irrespective of the variety under cultivation, while correlation analysis revealed that digging efficiency and total percentage of pod loss are inversely related, signifying that at lower digging efficiency there would be higher pod loss and vice versa.