Pratibha Joshi, Renu Jethi, Nirmal Chandra, Manik Lal Roy, H.L. Kharbikar and Atheequlla G.A
In hills, the processing of small millets is mainly done by women. The drudgery involved in manual processing of small millets is an important reason of reduction in consumption for small millets. The small seed size also makes processing of these crops difficult and time consuming. To overcome this problem, an efficient finger millet and barnyard millet thresher named as Vivek Mandua / Madira Thresher was successfully designed and developed at VPKAS, Almora. This machine can thresh as well as pearl grains of finger millet, barnyard millet, proso millet and foxtail millet. Threshing and pearling of finger millet are done simultaneously, whereas in case of foxtail millet, barnyard millet, and proso millet, threshing and pearling are done separately. In order to mechanize the processing of small millets, the machine works well with more than 98% threshing efficiency and more than 90% pearling efficiency. The machine has threshing capacity of 60-80 kg and pearling capacity of 80-100 kg grains of finger millet in one hour. The machine has similar threshing capacity for barnyard millet with dehusking capacity of 2.5- 4.0 kg grains per hour. These mechanized threshers were found ergonomically sound with respect to traditional method of threshing and are helpful in reducing physiological ergonomics parameters i.e. Heart Rate (HR), Energy Expenditure Rate (EER), Blood Pressure (BP), Pulse Pressure, Total Cardiac Cost of Work (TCCW), Physiological Cost of Work (PCW) and Blood Lactate Concentration and postural discomfort. On the basis of physiological ergonomic parameters, it was found that the per cent increase in heart rate by manual beating of finger millet was 8.78 which was reduced up-to 3.64 with thresher. The Total Cardiac Cost of Work (TCCW) and Physiological Cost of Work (PCW) were also reduced from 2017.5 to 1517.1 and 134.5 to 101.14 respectively, from millet thresher. Data for various other physiological parameters such as Percent changes in EER (Energy Expenditure Rate) from 31.43 to 14.39, Blood pressure 14.23 to 8.70 and Pulse Rate 40.86 to 16.78 were also recorded with millet thresher. Blood lactate concentrations (after activity) were also reduced with 14.7 to 7.94 mmol/l of blood with millet thresher These machines significantly reduce the work load and time spent for post harvest processing of small millets. This thresher has been well received by the cultivators as well as the development agencies.
Keyword: Drudgery; Post harvest technology; Ergonomics assessment; Finger millet threshing;