Ergonomic parameters (heart-rate and total heart beats per unit of work) were applied to the evaluation of five hoes for weeding small-farm plots on hill-slopes. The same measurements were employed to compare the effort involved in different hand-powered soil tillage systems (conventional, minimum and zero). Results show that the physiological cost of hoeing increases with slope angle, but the hoe designs evaluated did not differ sufficiently to show differences in the effort required to use them. Reducing tillage to strip or zero till reduces the physiological demand and increases labour productivity (at the cost of applying herbicides). However, economic analysis indicates that the differences are unlikely to result in adoption in farming systems where family labour is the dominant source of power.
Sims, B.G.; O’Neil, D.H.; Walle, R.J.; Ellis-Jones, J.; Rosero, A.J.; Estrada, J.J. Ergonomic evaluation of hand hoes for hillside weeding and soil preparation in Honduras. CEIBA (1998) 39 (2) 183-189.