Animal Traction and Small-scale farming: A Stellenbosch Case Study

  • The case study of a farm, where working oxen were introduced " investigated the possibility of animal traction emerging as an affordable, environmentally-friendly and appropriate technology for small-scale farming. The findings showed that oxen were a more cost-effective means of draught power than a tractor, not only in terms of capital costs but also as maintenance and operational costs. The manure from the oxen was both an effective way of supplying crops with essential nutrients and improving soil biodiversity. The introduction of the oxen presented some challenges to the farmer concerning knowledge about how animals work and other managerial challenges, but these were overcome by learning through practice. It was found that the farmer will be able to make significant savings in soil-amendment costs and he can control the quality of the manure to suit his needs. It was concluded that small-scale farmers who choose animal traction over tractors as a means of draught power will realize many advantages in return."

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