Average operational land holding size in the country is estimated at 1.16 ha. About 80% of the land holdings are operated by small and marginal farmers owning <1 and 1-2 ha holdings, respectively.
These farmers cannot invest in costly farm machinery and depend on hiring of implements to carryout agricultural operations in their fields.
In rain fed areas, the window for taking up of timely land preparation, sowing and inter-culture operations is narrow especially in the low rainfall zones. Failing to exploit this limited window often leads to a compromise on productivity and efficiency in crop production.
In high rainfall areas dominated by heavy soils, drainage is more crucial to prevent damage to crop from excess soil moisture in the root zone especially in pulses, oil seeds and cotton.
Labor shortage at peak times of demand is a serious problem faced by farmers.
Adoption of climate resilient practices such as soil incorporation of legume catch crops and crop residues to improve soil health and resource conservation technologies are linked to timely access to appropriate farm machinery at reasonable cost.
Several options are now available to increase the efficiency and timeliness of agricultural operations even on small farms by using farm machinery.
Mechanization brings in timeliness and precision to agricultural operations, greater field coverage over a short period, cost-effectiveness, efficiency in use of resources and applied inputs, conservation of available soil moisture under stress conditions and provision of adequate drainage of excess rain and floodwaters.
Custom hiring centers (CHCs) for farm implements established by successfully empower farmers to tide over the shortage of labor and improve efficiency of agricultural operations.