© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

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Traditionally yoked oxen or buffalo were used to pull the plough. The ploughman would walk behind steering the plough and directing the oxen or buffalo. Nowadays the use of bovines is becoming rarer and rarer as mechanization becomes more common. Small Indian made tractors are popular, powerful and highly manoeuvrable in the often tight confines between the banks of the paddy fields and the small square plots.

In the larger and commercially run paddy field areas, large tractors are increasingly utilized. These are often owned by contractors.

Traditional ploughing with oxen or buffalo. These are still common in areas with smaller paddy fields such as this one in the Hill Country. The hard baked earth is often first softened by flooding the field.  

Increasingly tractors such as these are being used for paddy field work whereas traditionally oxen or buffalo would have been used. These small tractors are very versatile. Here it is towing a locally made cart to transport supplies to the family paddy field. These carts typically have a bench seat at the front where the driver sits with passengers. Additional passengers or stores sit behind in the body of the cart.

When it is used for ploughing , a plough is fixed behind and the ploughman walks between the handles to steer the plough. Other tools such as a harrow can be towed by the tractor in the same way. The tractor engine can be used to drive a large fan to help the winnowing process during harvest. (See section on Harvest.)

Some of the implements that are attached to the small tractor for using at different stages of the rice cultivation