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Merle L. Esmay
Roy E. Harrington
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF
2950 Niles Road, Box 410
St. Joseph, MI 49085
PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
A DELEGATION OF
15 ASAE MEMBERS
REPORT CN THEIR
IN CHINA AUG. 18 SEPT. 8, 1979
OIRANIZED BY THE A-611 COMMITTEE
OF THE INTERNATIONAL DEPARTMENT
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF
MEMBERS OF THE CHINA DELEGATION
OF AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERS
Dr. Merle L. Esmay, Delegation Leader, Director of the ASAE International Depart-
ment. Professor of Agricultural Engineering, Michigan State University,
East Lansing, Michigan, 48824.
Mr. Roy Harrington, Delegation Co-Leader, Chairman of ASAE International Relations
subcommittee on China exchanges. Product Planner for Deere and Company,
Moline, Illinois, 61265.
Mr. Albert Best, President of ASAE, Engineering Research Director with Sperry New
Holland, New Holland, Pennsylvania, 17557.
Dr. Gerald Zoerb, President of the Canadian Society of Agricultural Engineers,
(CSAE), Professor and Head of Agricultural Engineering, University of
Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada S7N OWO.
Mr. Lawrence Skromme, Past President of ASAE. Consulting Engineer, retired Chief
Engineer and Vice President of Worldwide Engineering for Sperry New Holland,
New Holland, Pennsylvania, 17557.
Mr. Howard Thompson, Agricultural Engineer. Responsible for design and develop-
ment of tillage and forage harvesting equipment for Massey-Ferguson, Inc.,
P.O. Box 322, Detroit, Michigan, 48232.
Dr. Houston Luttrell, ASAE Director of the Southeast Region. Professor and Head
of Agricultural Engineering, University of Tennessee, P.O. Box 1071,
Knoxville, Tennessee, 37901.
Dr. J. B. Liljedahl, Professor of Agricultural Engineering, Purdue University, West
Lafayette, Indiana, 47907.
Ms. Jane Janney, Project Engineer with Lyntone Engineering, responsible for
design and development of Rainbird irrigation systems. 650 West Foothill
Boulevard, Glendora, California, 91740.
Dr. John E. Dixon, Professor of Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho,
Moscow, Idaho, 83843.
Mr. Charles E. McKeon, Executive Engineer of Agricultural Engineering, Ford
Tractor Operations, 2500 E. Maple Road, Troy, Michigan, 48084.
Dr. James H. Taylor, Research Leader on traction, USDA National Tillage
Machinery Laboratory, P.O. Box 792, Auburn, Alabama, 36830.
Mr. Mark D. Shaw, Associate Professor of Agricultural Engineering, Pennsylvania
State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, 16802.
Dr. Walter Bilanski, Professor of Agricultural Engineering, School of Engineering,
Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario.
Dr. Wayne Kroutil, Professor of Agricultural Engineering, University of Nebraska,
Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, North Platte, Nebraska, 69101.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Delegation Members......................... ........... .................. ii
Introduction.................................... ........................... 1
Production Mechanization (Farming)
Lessons on Farm Mechanization for Developing Nations...................12
Roy E. Harrington
Forage and Ruminant Animal Production in China.........................19
Albert M. Best
Livestock and Poultry Production Mechanization........................24
Merle L. Esmay
Impressions of China after 30 Years and Thoughts on Energy Use in
Chinese Agriculture................................... ...... .... 30
Mark D. Shaw
Agricultural Machinery Manufacturing Plants in People's Republic
of China ............................................................38
Charles E. McKeon
Tillage Machinery and Cultural Practices................................43
Howard G. Thompson
Grain Production, Harvesting and Handling Mechanization in People's
Republic of China ............ .................................. .. 49
Lawrence H. Skromme
Research Institutions and Facilities................................
John E. Dixon
James H. Taylor
Chinese Irrigation Systems and Techniques.............................75
Wayne F. Kroutil
The State of Agricultural Engineering Systems Modeling and
Analysis in China ...................................................82
W. K. Bilanski
A Glimpse of Culture........................... ....... ..
Agricultural Engineering Education in People's Republic of
John B. Liljedahl
Management and Implementation of Agricultural Engineering
Research in Universities and Research Institutes...........
Education Administration, Admission, Specialization,
Gerald C. Zoerb
PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
ASAE DELEGATION TOUR, 18 AUGUST TO 8 SEPTEMBER 1979
Merle L. Esmay
Roy E. Harrington
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Experienced product planners of farm equipment are sometimes skeptical
of very specific observations given after a single short trip to the field. While
recognizing some justification for this skepticism, this report will attempt to
avoid repeated disclaimers on lack of adequate observations. Rather, its pur-
pose is to provide "Glimpses of Agricultural Mechanization in China", which hope-
fully will be stepping stones for those who follow in exchanging information and
transferring agricultural mechanization technology.
PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
ASAE DELEGATION TOUR, 18 AUGUST TO 8 SEPTEMBER 1979
Merle L. Esmay
Roy E. Harrington
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Experienced product planners of farm equipment are sometimes skeptical
of very specific observations given after a single short trip to the field. While
recognizing some justification for this skepticism, this report will attempt to
avoid repeated disclaimers on lack of adequate observations. Rather, its pur-
pose is to provide "Glimpses of Agricultural Mechanization in China", which hope-
fully will be stepping stones for those who follow in exchanging information and
transferring agricultural mechanization technology.
In 1975 the National Academy of Sciences approached the American Society
of Agricultural Engineers for assistance in planning a visit for the Chinese
Agricultural Mechanization Society to the United States. Professor Jaw-Kai Wang,
Roy Harrington and others of the International Relations Committee of ASAE helped
plan their itinerary. Mr. Xiang Nan, Vice-President, Chinese Agricultural Mech-
anization Society, led their 15-member delegation which visited the United States
from 27 August thru 30 September 1976. They toured ten states visiting colleges,
USDA research stations, farm equipment manufacturers, and farms. Mr. Xiang Nan
is now Vice-Minister of Agricultural Machinery.
On a personal visit to the People's Republic of China in 1978, Professor
Jaw-Kai Wang explored with the Chinese Society of Agricultural Machinery the
possibility of an ASAE delegation touring China. In January, Mr. Hua Guozhu, Vice-
President of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Machinery, sent Professor Merle
Esmay an invitation for 15 delegates of ASAE to tour China.
The delegation of ASAE member's visit to China was a professional
society exchange activity rather than a government sponsored program as had been
most previous scholarly exchanges. This meant, for one thing, that no travel
funding was available other than the in-city transportation expenses in China
offered by CSAM in their original invitation.
An announcement of the CSAM invitation was communicated broadly through-
out the ASAE membership within the time frame allowable to formulate the
S WORLD UN Shanghai
WORLD UNITY Shanghai
Delegation. Responses were received from over thirty interested ASAE members
who had funding available for the trip. In the initial 1978 discussions Mr. Hua
Gouzhu of CSAM and Dr. Jaw-Kai Wang of ASAE identified five areas of expertise
for the make-up of the delegation.
1) Agricultural Engineering Education
2) New product development for the farm equipment industry
3) Production management for the farm equipment industry
4) Animal production mechanization
5) Agricultural systems analysis
The China delegation was eventually formulated with a mix of ASAE
members from industry, universities and government research who also exhibited
a sincere interest in present and future international activities of our pro-
fession of Agricultural Engineering. The President of ASAE was a member of the
delegation as was also the President of the Canadian Society of Agricultural
Engineers, a past ASAE president and two ASAE board members.
Seminars in China
Early in the planning for the China trip, CSAM asked if the ASAE dele-
gation members would be willing to present seminars in Beijing. Their request
was agreed to and plans were eventually developed for two half-days of seminar-
ing on the six following topics:
1) Livestock Production Mechanization:
Merle Esmay Livestock Production
Albert Best Forage Machinery
2) Research and Development Trends:
Roy Harrington Trends and Planning
Howard Thompson Tillage Machinery
Gerald Zoerb Instrurrentation
3) Management and Implerentation of Agricultural Engineering Research:
James Taylor Research Institutes
Jane Janney Industry
Houston Luttrell Universities
4) Management of Agricultural Machinery Production:
Charles McKeon Quality Control
Lawrence Skromme Production Management
5) Agricultural Engineering Education:
Bruce Liljedahl Textbooks
Wayne Kroutil Extension
6) Agricultural Engineering Systems Engineering:
John Dixon Systems Modeling
Walter Bilanski Systems Analysis
Mark Shaw Energy Requirements
CSAM invited over 300 agricultural engineers from most of the pro-
vinces of China to Beijing to participate in the seminars. They divided into
six groups of about 50 each and they stayed with the same topic for the two
half-day sessions. The seminars were held in the Great Hall of the People, the
Central Government Building in Beijing, so this was another unique experience
for the ASAE delegation members. Many slides were used in the presentations to
minimize the task of translation. Each ASAE delegation member also prepared
a written paper on their assigned topic. The papers were carried to Beijing
and given to CSAM upon arrival August 18. Prior to the scheduled seminars on
August 27 and 28th, CSAM translated the papers to Chinese and made copies
available to seminar participants.
Each ASAE delegation member was also assigned a topic to investigate
throughout the China trip besides the seminar topics. Both topics were arrived
at through consultation with the ASAE delegation members based upon their pro-
fessional field of expertise and particular interest in China. The investigation
topics are reflected by the reports of the members in this report.
Discussion following an inpsection of
a disk harrow factory. In foreground
are: Gerald Zoerb, Al Best, John
Dixon and Howard Thompson.
Seminar in The Great Hall of the People.
In foreground are: Gerald Zoerb, Howard
Thompson and Roy Harrington.
Some other assignments were made to minimize duplication among the
delegation members in gathering information. Professor Mark Shaw was assigned
the task of obtaining and listing names of all Chinese officials met by the ASAE
delegation. Mark Shaw was the only member of the delegation who had previously
been in China. He worked there three years during the late 1940's, so he knew
and understood considerable Chinese. President Albert Best presented ASAE
Certificates of Appreciation to each of the delegation hosts at the various
places visited. Forty certificates were presented during the twenty-one days.
The China Itinerary
The ASAE delegation visited provinces and cities from the north to
the south of China. See the map for details of places visited. The visitation
itinerary and schedule was formulated by the CSAM hosts. The ASAE delegation
arrived in Beijing late on August 18th. Beginning the next afternoon of August
19th, a one-week trip was made north and east to visit Harbin, Jaimuse and
Chang-Hun districts. A disk harrow factory, a grain drill factory, a self pro-
pelled combine harvester factory, a state farm, Jilin Industrial College and
a tractor factory were visited in the northeast of China.
Dr. John Dixon obtained copies of the menu for each of the nine
formal dinners and had them translated to English and distributed to all members.
Each Province and Municipality district visited by the ASAE delegation hosted
a dinner for the group. Each dinner was a delight for Chinese food connoisseurs
as it seemed each Chinese host attempted to out do the others. ASAE delegation
members became quite adept at returning toasts offered by the Chinese hosts.
Each ASAE delegation member took hundreds of photographs, Lawrence
Skromme, Wayne Kroutil and Houston Luttrell proved to be the most aggressive
and persistent camera clickers. Would you believe 50 or so 36-exposure rolls
each? It is hoped that the pictures in this report reflect also good quality
Four days were then spent in Beijing and the surrounding area between
August 25th and the 29th. The Great Wall, the Ming Tmnb, the Imperial Summer
Palace and an opera were taken in on Sunday, August 26th. Besides the seminars
during the forenoons of August 27th and 28th, visits were made by various dele-
gation members to two different cammunes, and internal combustion engine factory
and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Mechanization Science (CAAMS).
From Beijing, six members of the delegation went separarely to luoyang
to inspect the largest tractor factory in China. The other nine delegation
members visited the Jiangdu Pumping station on the north bank of the Yangtze
river and the Zhenjiang Agricultural Machinery College. These places are located
north of Nanking. After three days of separation the split delegation rejoined
for the weekend in the beautiful resort city of Hangchow. Sightseeing and re-
laxation were enjoyed over Saturday and Sunday.
During 2 and 1/2 days in the Shanghai area, visits were made to two
different tractor plants, a rice transplanting factory, a rotary tiller factory,
a poultry producing commune, the Shanghai Research Institute of Agricultural
Machinery, the Shanghai Research Institute of Internal Combustion Engines, and
the Shanghai Industrial Exhibition. The last three days of the study tour were
spent in the south of China in the Guangzhou area visiting the Research Insti-
tute of Agricultural Machinery, the Foshan bio-gas station, the South China
Agricultural College, the Guangzhou tractor-drawn farm implement factory and
an area of small hydro-electric stations.
A review and debriefing session was held on the last afternoon of
September 7th with our CSAM hosts. This was an important session for discussion
of future exchange programs.
A Meeting with Vice Premier Wang, Ren Zhong
The ASAE delegation was invited to a one-hour meeting with Vice Pre-
mier Wang, Ren Zhong on Monday afternoon of August 27th in the Great Hall of
the People. Vice Premier Wang, Ren Zhong is responsible for all of the agricul-
tural related ministries of China. This includes the ministries of agronomy,
livestock, forestry, land reclamation and agricultural machinery. Minister
Yang Li Jong and Vice Minister Xiang Nan of the Agricultural Machinery Ministry
also attended the meeting with Vice Premier Wang, Ren Zhong.
The Vice Premier briefed the ASAE delegation on the agricultural
situation and problems in China. A transcript follows:
I welcome the Agricultural Engineering delegates from the
United States of America and Canada to China. We also welcome your
suggestions for agricultural mechanization and modernization through
the seminars presented in the Great Hall to 300 Chinese agricultural
Chinese agricultural mechanization is comparatively less
advanced in China than in the United States as you have seen during
i- j .S 4
V I 4 I i a l
First row (left to right): Jane Janney; Yang, Li Jong, Minister of Agricultural Machinery; Roy Harrington; Merle Esmay; Vice Premier Wang, Ren Zhong; Al Best; Xiang Nan,
Vice Minister of Agricultural Machinery; Howard Thompson, Guo Dong Cai, President of CSAM and Director of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Mechanization Science
(CAAMS); Mark Shaw.
Second row (left to right): Ma Shi Kui, Clerk in Foreign Affairs Department of Ministry of Agricultural Machinery; Yang Xiu Zhi, Office Worker of Foreign Affairs Department
Bureau of the Agricultural Machinery Ministry; Tang You Zhang, Director Foreign Affairs Department of Ministry of Agricultural Machinery; Lawrence Skromme; Gerald
Zoerb; Bruce Liljedahl; Hua Guozhu, Vice President of CSAM and Deputy Director of CAAMS; John Dixon; James Taylor, Chen Ren Huang, Interpreter.
Third row (left to right): Houston Luttrell; Walt Bilanski; Charles McKeon; Wayne Kroutil; Guo Ming, Officer of Foreign Affairs Bureau of Ministry of Agricultural Machinery,
Vice President of CSAM and Director of CAAMS; Wang Wan Jun, Deputy Director, Chief Engineer CAAMS; Zeng Dechao, Vice President of CSAM, and Professor of Beijing
Agricultural Mechanization Institute.
your several days here. China has same machines but so far only for
partial mechanization. Most food production tasks still depend dir-
ectly on labor. It has only been since liberation that equipment man-
ufacturing has been undertaken for agricultural mechainzation so the
time has been several decades less than in the United States or Canada.
However, we will work hard to catch up with your countries.
You have seen some of the northeastern part of China and you
will visit central and southern areas. China and the United States are
very big countries and both are in the northern hemisphere, so the
areas have similarities. China has somewhat worse natural conditions
with more mountains, deserts and less cultivable area than the United
States. China also has a much higher population.
China must consider important factors in carrying out agri-
cultural mechanization and modernization. The machine size must match
the conditions of the area and agricultural mechanization must also
be ccmmunsurate with the development of industry. Labor efficient mech-
anization could cause a movement of the laborers to the industrial
cities in your country. But China, with her high population, must not
let this happen as the factories could not employ so many people in
the cities. Arrangements should be made, as a part of agricultural mod-
ernization, to utilize the excess laborers of the 80% of the population
that live in the country in the local rural areas in medium and small
The high investment requirements for agricultural moderniza-
tion is also a problem because of China's limited financial resources.
The farmers must continue to share scme of the heavy burdens so agri-
cultural mechanization can be completed step by step.
Northeastern China has a large cultivable area with less pop-
ulation, thus has need for mechanization development. The farmers of the
northeastern area can better afford machines and they are needed for
maximazing production so should be given priority over the more highly
populated regions with ample laborers available.
Priorities as to the type of mechanization varies by district.
In the mountainous districts the transportation must be improved with
improved roads and better vehicles, so the products can be shipped to
I have recently been to the northeastern part of China as
you have been. I operated a truck that was manufactured in the United
States. It operates easily but it cost too much. China now has an
agricultural mechanization industrial base that can manufacter medium
and small size trucks appropriate for our agricultural production con-
ditions. The foreign advanced technology must be suitable to this
industrial foundation, natural conditions and the characteristics of
agricultural production. In the northeast we need harvesting machines
and grain dryers, as it is often wet and rainy during the harvesting
Forestry management needs planting and harvesting mechaniza-
tion. Planting mechanization is necessary as serious problems arise if
the period of time is too great between the harvesting and planting
China has large grassland areas but hay production is low as
there is little livestock production mechanization. Improved grass
varieties and better grassland management are needed to increase hay
production. Plant, food, fiber and vegetable oil production has been
concentrated on during the last few years. Also, swine and poultry
production have been increased some, but little attention has been
given to beef cattle and sheep production. The mountain and prarie
districts can be developed for more beef cattle and sheep production.
Irrigation has been improved through the management of rivers
and the drilling of wells. The construction of hydroelectric power
stations has also been incorporated with river and water management.
There are, however, many rivers in need of further management. The
Yangtze and Yellow rivers are most important to our country as they pro-
vide for much fish production and several million acres of irrigated
land along both rivers. Much loss of property resulted from the flooding
of the Yangtze river in 1954. Thus, we must build more dams and devices
to control the possible flooding of about 20 million crop acres along
the river. Hydroelectric power stations would also be incorporated.
Solving of the flooding and irrigation problems adjacent to many rivers
is of most importance in our agricultural modernization program.
The utilization of fertilizers must be increased with more
chemical fertilizer production. Phosphorous fertilization is needed in
the northeast but there is no phosphorous production there. The phos-
phorous fertilizer plants must then be built in the south and the pro-
duct transported to the northeast. We are also going to increase the
production of other fertilized compounds. The northeast also needs
herbicides to save labor and increase production particular for soy-
I hope the suggestions of your delegation, after your visit,
will help improve our agricultural mechanization and modernization. I
welcome the exchange of science and technology between our two countries
which has now increased compared to the past three decades.
We recognize that our technology is less advanced than that
of the United States but we intend to catch up. We are going to bring
about the modernization of China under the lead of our party and gov-
ernment. Our developmental direction is based on agriculture thus
agricultural mechanization has been an important position among the
four modernizations. Finally, I hope our United States and Canadian
friends visit China again.
Vice Minister Xiang Nan of the Agricultural Machinery Ministry hosted
a dinner for the ASAE delegation and provided an additional opportunity to visit
with him about agricultural mechanization in China. He listed the following
areas of concern for agricultural mechanization:
1) Ecology balance
2) Improved grassland
3) Soil and water conservation
4) Experimentation in farm machinery
5) Development of Livestock Production
6) Improvement of the feed industry
Particular stress was placed on the goal to increase livestock and
poultry products in the diet of the Chinese people. It was stated that only
from 13 to 14% of the food diet in China was then derived from animal and bird
products, while for many western countries the percentage is over 50.
CSAM Support of the ASAE Delegation
The ASAE delegation was cared for continuously and effectively from
the time they landed in Beijing from Tokyo on August 18th and left Guangzhou
by hovercraft on September 8th for Hong Kong. Four CSAM members travelled with
the delegation continuously for 21 days. Mr. Sung, Zhang-liang was the official
translator and the others helped with logistics and schedule implementation.
Besides the CSAM support crew Professor Zhang Dejun of the Chagchun
Agricultural Machinery College travelled with the delegation the first week
during the trip in the northeastern part of China. During the southern part of
the trip, Professor Zeng, Dechao of the Beijing Agricultural Machinery Institute
accompanied the delegation. Both of these men studied at the University of
Minnesota during the late 1940's. They not only were able of converse easily
with the delegation members in English but are outstanding professional people.
Each of them added much to the trip for the delegation members. Most of the
time one of the ASAE delegation members was conversing with which ever one
was with us.
Professor Zhang, Dejun, in response to a CIGR and ASAE invitation to
CSAM attended the June 1979 ASAE/CSAE Annual meeting in Winnipeg Canada and the
July 1979, IXth CIGR Congress of Agricultural Engineering at East Lansing,
Michigan. A Preliminary meeting of 13 of the 15 ASAE delegation members with
Professor Zhang in Winnepeg proved most beneficial for finalization of plans
and details for the trip in August and September.
The ASAE delegation travelled over 5000 miles in China in 21 days.
About 2000 miles were by plane and 3000 by train. Travel by train totaled over
66 hours. Four long train trips included three over-night rides and one for all
day. The trains were on schedule and the sleeping cars very adequate for satis-
The delegation stayed in ten different hotels besides the three nights
on trains so there were many one night stands. The longest stop was four nights
in the Friendship Hotel in Beijing. Also the delegates participated in nine
The delegation members took an average of one thousand pictures each.
That is an average of nearly one picture per minute for the group during all of
the daylight hours in China.
Our tour was planned in great detail and conducted to perfection. How-
ever we were even more overwhelmed by the spontaneous friendship of those people
having no connection with our tour. We recall two examples from our first free
evening which was in Harbin. In the absence of a common language, two grade
school boys invited t~o of us to join them in a game of badminton. I was behind
as the game ended when he placed the only birdie on the roof of an adjacent house.
During the stroll of four others, a man and his young daughter invited them
without benefit of a common language into a Chinese theater for a professional
variety show with no admission charge. Since all seats were sold folding chairs
were placed for the honored guests in front of the front row. People were pleasant,
courteous, open, and friendly wherever we traveled.
Mutual objectives and cooperation were discussed between officials of
the Chinese Society of Agricultural Machinery and the American Society of Agri-
cultural Engineers. CSAM would like to send graduate students to universities
in the United States and Canada. They would like college professors from these
countries to spend three to twelve months lecturing in China and would like some
of their professors to do research in our universities. They are interested in
similar length exchanges between engineers in industry.
We feel that each of the above suggestions would be beneficial to both
countries. Additional exchanges of tour delegations is also desirable. The
broad composition of our delegation having an opportunity to get the broad view
of farm mechanization in China was highly desirable for the first exchange. While
some future exchanges may be similar in nature, there is also a need for exchanges
of smaller groups with more specialized interests.
On a Sunday the group saw the Great
Wall, the Ming Tomb, the Imperial
Summer Palace and attended an opera. * l
Jim Taylor, Mark Shaw, Roy Harrington _
(back to camera) and Al Best are
recognizable in the foreground.
LESSONS ON FARM MECHANIZATION
FOR DEVELOPING NATIONS
Roy E. Harrington
Deere & Company
Current Status of Farm Mechanization
China has built a riding wheel tractor factory in each of its 3 municipalities
and 26 provinces except for Tibet. We visited a 28 horsepower wheel tractor fac-
tory in Changchun and two separate wheel tractor factories in Shanghai making
35 hp and 50 hp units. We also visited a 75 hp agricultural crawler tractor
factory in Luoyang as well as a self-propelled combine factory in Jiamusi and a
tractor-mounted combine factory in Guangzhou.
Crawler tractor and riding wheel tractor production began in 1958 followed by
two-wheel walking tractor production in 1964. China produced 113,500 tractors
in 1978. It is estimated that 80% of these were riding wheel tractors and 20%
agricultural crawler tractors. In the same year they produced 324,200 walking
tractors. Combine production is estimated at 4,000 units in 1978. Riding trac-
tor production has doubled in the last eight years and walking tractor production
has doubled in the last four years.
In 1978 China had 557,000 riding wheel tractors & crawler tractors in use,
1,370,000 two-wheel walking tractors in use, and an estimated 20,000 combines
in use. With about 128,000,000 hectares of arable land, this results in 230
hectares for each riding tractor in use. This compares to India at 465 ha and
the United States at 45 ha of arable land per riding tractor in use. However,
China's annual production looks more favorable with one riding tractor per 1,130 ha
of arable land compared to 3,100 ha in India and 1,080 ha in the United States.
Riding wheel tractors are said to average about 2,000 hours use per year. While
it has been estimated that two-thirds of this amount is for transport, our obser-
vation is that transport might account for up to 80% of the use of both riding
wheel tractors and walking tractors.
Relative to India, China uses more human labor and less animal power for both
transport and field work. However, the workers in China have better hand tools
and carts than in India. In northern China, some donkeys, horses, and mules are
used for transport and field work. Bullocks are more widely used for both jobs.
Buffalo are very popular for field work in the rice areas of southern China.
The author worked as the Agricultural Implement Consultant for The Ford Founda-
tion in New Delhi, India from 1966 to 1971.
China had 557,000 wheel & crawler farm tractors in use in 1978.
if, ..- ,. .... .. = ;- -" -.,
A ;. .
1,370,000 walking tractors and 20,000 combines were in use in 1978.
Mechanization at the farmstead for cutting forage, threshing & cleaning grain,
as well as processing grain and oilseed crops appears to generally have pro-
gressed further than most other nations in Asia.
China has over one-third of all the irrigated farmland in the world with the ma-
jority of it being canal-fed flood irrigation. However, in 1978, they had over
65 million horsepower of pumps for lift irrigation and drainage. Thus, China, as
is also true of India, has invested more money in mechanized irrigation pumpsets
than they have for mechanizing field operations with farm tractors. This has been
a wise choice in both nations as it gives a high return on investment from in-
creased crop yields and more multiple cropping.
China has independently made great progress in modernizing their agriculture.
They have developed many improved crop varieties. Considerable usage of ferti-
lizer was very evident on our trip in the dark green color of essentially all
corn fields. China probably has the highest ratio of multiple cropping of any
large nation in the world. Farm management appeared good in terms of timeliness
of operations and the uniformity of appearance of crops. However, weed control
varied from excellent to very poor.
Much of government policy relates to the stated four modernizations of industry,
agriculture, science & technology, and national defense. Of course, agricultural
mechanization involves each of the first three.
During the first decade after liberation, the major emphasis in agriculture was
on the collectivization of farmland. Currently, most farmland is operated by
communes except for a number of large state farms in the far north and western
parts of the country. During the past two decades, mechanization has increasingly
become a top priority for agriculture with a stated goal of "Basic Mechanization
by 1980". The government is promoting mechanization to increase the productivity
of land and to release some labor for industrial production at the commune level.
The farm worker would like to use mechanization to reduce drudgery at the four
times each crop season he bends his back toward the sun for tillage, planting,
weeding and harvesting. Most tractors .that we observed in use were transporting
material that otherwise would likely have been transported by people pulling two-
One of the more important policies, which has permitted China to rapidly indus-
trialize, has been the decentralization policy of independence and self-reliance
at the smallest possible political unit. This has allowed their planned economy
to function while many others have faltered because of the almost invariable alibi
that some other governmental unit was preventing that particular government unit
from functioning properly. On the farm, this philosophy has been of great value
because most of the farm equipment is working, unlike government-owned equipment
in other nations.
Self-reliance has had mixed results in factory production. Most of the factories
we visited included a foundry, machine shop, gear-cutting equipment, heat treat-
ment, sheet metal shop, fabrication, and assembly. Frequently, at least in the
past, the factory produced a rather broad product line. Most factories had made
a considerable portion of both their standard tooling and their specialized tool-
ing. While this has resulted in production with no alibis for lack of output, it
has resulted in high investments for tooling, buildings, and labor relative to
volume of production. It also fails to achieve the many benefits of standardized
parts in terms of lower costs, better quality, and better parts availability to
Another crucial governmental policy observed by our delegation was motivation of
individuals by incentives. There is a greater differential in pay between the
inexperienced factory worker and the most skilled hourly factory worker in China
than there is in North America. The worker who excels in both quantity and quality
also gets recognition by his peers when his photograph is posted in front of the
Since about 1976, China has been actively pursuing inputs of technology from the
industrialized nations. However, they plan to be very location specific with
their introduction of new technology. For example, 100 hp and above wheel trac-
tors may be introduced in the lower population-density northern provinces, espec-
ially when their use contributes to higher yields and the reclamation of farmland.
Likewise, hay and forage equipment is being sought to increase dairy and beef pro-
duction in the northern and western provinces. Several North American farm equip-
ment companies have supplied some farm equipment for one or more state farms in
China. Our delegation observed John Deere tractors, a plow, a disk, and a stack
wagon operating on Friendship Farm east of Jiamusi. Functional components of
North American equipment were also observed on test in some of their laboratories.
There are at least two ways they can adopt technology which they find useful. An
American firm has built several large fertilizer factories for China and a number
of firms from various nations have quoted on building farm equipment factories.
The other approach, which may be used for some of the simpler components or ma-
chines, is simply to copy their important functional principles as has been done
so successfully in Japan.
Sustained technological growth must come from China's own scientists and engineers.
After a low ebb of emphasis on college training about a decade ago, colleges are
now flourishing in China. It is also China's intent to have a number of their
students and scholars spend time in universities in a number of industrialized
Many low income countries have rather grand plans for the adoption of modern tech-
nology. However, China has demonstrated its commitment' of resources for action as
well as for planning. Assuming that current government policies prevail over a
long period of time, China's rate of technological progress will be as rapid as
their limited financial resources permit.
Modernization of agriculture could be improved in all developing nations by better
infrastructure. However, we observed more construction activity in China than any
of us had observed in any other nation. Throughout the country we observed con-
struction of grain storage, housing, factories, stores, and office buildings.
The various cities are being better linked by radio, electricity, highways, rail-
roads, seaports, and airports. While some of the buildings appeared to need better
quality materials and workmanship, we were impressed by the quality of their rail-
road tracks and the quality of buildings such as the Great Hall in Beijing and the
Exhibition Hall in Shanghai.
Construction of physical facilities requires good organization. The nation of
China is politically subdivided into provinces, counties, communes, brigades, and
production teams, with decisions made at the lowest practical level, In some
parts of the country, the state farm replaces the commune. Factories may be
operated by any of these six political subdivisions depending on the required
investment in the factory and the importance of its output to that political unit.
While their 1900 farm equipment factories may not make complete economic sense,
they have spread technology throughout the nation and have been close enough to
the farmer to understand his needs and supply him repair parts. They have also
been a good source of productive employment for off-season farm labor. China
has been one of the most successful nations in creating physical infrastructure
with minimum capital outlays. This has been possible due to her ability to or-
ganize and utilize off-season farm labor to build roads, buildings, irrigation
Infrastructure for modern technology is much easier to build with an educated
population. China is probably the most educated poor nation in the world. Their
formal education in schools appears to be very practically oriented. Many of
their factory workers have at least nine years of education. In addition, voca-
tional training is offered to adults by many factories and communes.
The quantity of Chinese people is obvious as soon as one enters the country.
However, the quality of the Chinese people made a more lasting impression on our
delegation. China probably has the longest continuous civilization of any nation
on earth. It has a rich heritage of culture and the arts. China is known for
some of its early technological advances such as paper, gunpowder, and porcelain.
The Chinese people appear to have many attributes which encourage technological
improvement. Their research appears to be on practical problems in their area of
responsibility. Self development of each individual's mental and physical skills
is admired and practiced. People are encouraged to practice a broad spectrum of
skills. Training is widely available to upgrade and further broaden their skills.
It is customary for people holding responsible jobs to include some physical as
well as mental work. Supervisors seem to understand the tasks of the various
people working for them. Leaders appear to solicit ideas and be willing to learn
from users and workers.
In our tour of factories, we repeatedly observed ingenious tooling and products
which were attributed to a variety of users, workers, engineers, and supervisors.
As an interesting example, we observed a rotary combine with several novel features
which was produced in China about five years before they were introduced in North
America. Thus it appears that their people are well equipped to absorb and adapt
the technology they obtain from industrialized nations.
Some generalized personality traits also have an indirect influence on the ability
to adopt technology. We found the Chinese to be honest, friendly, pleasant, and
open. Each of these is important in the transfer of ideas within a country and
between countries. They are organized, punctual, precise, and clean. Each of
these attributes is important in the conduct of good research, testing, and devel-
- ".. .. -
China stresses action as well as
-. :.n;. -
. \ _. .
* .. *- '
An official of CSAM illustrates his
closeness to agriculture.
* ,f -. ,
Ping-Pong is only one of many ways the
system encourages development of
China has been producing rotary com-
bines since 1970.
!r: TP ?il*. '
rr, r 1
The individual Chinese considers it normal to be working for the group and con-
versely, the group is equally accustomed to working for individuals.; Although
farms have been collectivized, individual families have retained small plots
for growing some of their own food.
China and India each now have a little over one farm tractor per 2,000 popula-
tion. However, China's tractor production is increasing faster than that in
India. China is also using more walking tractors than any nation other than
Japan. With her well developed irrigation system, high usage of multiple
cropping, and increased emphasis on modern agronomic practices, we can expect
increased farm income to be available to pay for increased farm mechanization.
Government policies place great emphasis on agriculture and within agriculture,
the importance of basic mechanization. A major influx of outside technology is
now being encouraged and will be limited primarily by economic constraints.
China is wisely adapting technology to the specific needs of each region of
China's political infrastructure is effective in advancing technology. Construc-
tion of physical facilities is progressing at a rapid rate. Education is good
and receiving increased emphasis at the college level. Other countries should
observe and learn from China as it progresses on its major program of four
Lessons on Farm Mechanization for Developing Nations pgs. 12-18
Roy E. Harrington
Forage and Ruminant Animal Production in China .... .pgs. 19-23
Albert M. Best
Livestock and Poultry Production Mechanization .... .pgs. 24-29
Merle L. Esmay
Impressions of China After 30 Years and
Thoughts on Energy Use in Chinese Agriculture . pgs. 30-36
Mark D. Shaw
FORAGE AND RUMINANT ANIMAL PRODUCTION
Albert M. Best
Engineering Research Director
Sperry New Holland
China, in total land area is 2.5% larger than the United
States. China also is approximately the same distance north to
south and east to west as the U.S. and in the same latitute. I
will use this comparison throughout the report to refer to geo-
graphical areas of China and where they would be located if
superimposed over the United States.
Our itinerary in China was starting from Peking traveling
north to near the northern border and then south to the southern
part of China. This.was along the eastern coast and would compare
with starting at Philadelphia, traveling north to Northern Maine,
and then south to Southern Florida. This part of China is largely
arable with adequate rainfall for general farming. There is a
greater temperature range from north to south in China than in the
China has approximately .12 hectares of arable or tillable
land per person. With this limited land availability per capital
nearly all of the food production, including cereals and feed
grains, are consumed directly by people. For example, while China
has 11,348,000 hectares of corn and approximately 250 million hogs,
very little is fed directly to hogs. The hogs are fed primarily
on garbage and harvested water plants. With nearly all of the
land area being suitable for cultivation, there are very few dairy
and beef cattle in the eastern part of China.
The Chinese officials and technicians on frequent occasions
made references to their goals to expand ruminant livestock produc-
tion, primarily in the more western regions where there are large
areas of natural grassland. The Chinese people do not have a history
of dairy products being a significant part of their diets, therefore,
much of their interest in expanding ruminant livestock production
is to increase the numbers and performance of beef animals on their
natural grasslands. Apparently much of the forage needs to be
improved for increased livestock production. We were unsuccessful
in obtaining any significant statistics on their livestock numbers
and future goals. We look forward to receiving such information
from them at a later date, however, it was not available in time
for this brief summary of their forage-livestock activities.
The geographical area of China that would compare to
approximately a 500 kilometer radius from Salt Lake City is
primarily desert. The remaining western two-thirds of China
surrounding this desert area consists primarily of grazing land.
An article in the March 16, 1979 issue of Beijing Review stated
that when Lin Biao and the "gang of four" were in power, large
tracts of grasslands in Qinghai and Gansu provinces (which would
compare approximately with the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Colorado in
the U.S.) were plowed and planted to cultivated crops. This
resulted in a loss of equilibrium in ecology, serious soil erosion,
water loss and steady encroachment of drifting sands on the land.
This land is now being returned to grasslands as they recognize
the fragile climactic conditions in that part of the country, with
livestock grazing and forestry being the most suitable economic
use for these areas.
The best information I have available on forage and ruminant
animal production was obtained from Volume 31 of the FAO Production
Yearbook, 1977. All of the statistical information that follows
was taken from this reference. Table 1 shows a comparison of the
total area and the various land uses in China and the United States.
Total Area and Land Utilization China and U.S. (1000 hectares)
Total Area 959,696 936,312
Land Area 930,496 912,689
Arable Land 118,320 178,453
Perm. Crops 620 1,878
Perm.Pasture 204,000 261,235
Forest 109,180 294,000
Others 498,376 177,123
Arable Land/Capita 0.12 hectare 0.81 hectare
As can be seen from the above table, China has extensive
permanent pasture lands and possibly some of the forest land can
also be grazed for ruminant livestock production. Some of the
498,376,000 hectares of land classified as others may also be made
suitable for grazing. It is evident from this data the necessity
for China to use fully and in the most appropriate manner all of
its agricultural lands.
As mentioned in the introduction, China does not have a
history or custom of dairy products being a significant part of
their diet. The FAO report estimated the number of milk cows in
China in 1977 at 6,514,000 compared to 10,984,000 in the U.S. The
animal per capital ratio would be approximately 20 people per dairy
animal in the U.S. and 140 people for each cow in China.
Even more startling than the number of cows in relation
to population is the total milk production and the availability of
milk per person. The total milk production in China is 3,846,000
metric tons (1300 lbs./animal/yr.) or approximately 9.5 lbs. per
person annually compared to 55,772,000 metric tons or 560 pounds
per person per year in the U.S.
We obtained no information as to the geographical distri-
bution of the dairy cattle in China, or the percentages of cattle
in different herd sizes. In the areas visited they have primarily
large herds, located near large cities. The Red Star Commune,
located near Beijing, includes an area of 160 square kilometers,
(39,520 acres) a total population of 85,000 people, and nine separate
dairy farms with a combined total of 2200 dairy cattle.
The feed at the dairy farms visited at the Red Star Commune,
consisted primarily of corn silage and some grain. The silage they
were feeding was primarily all forage with almost no grain content.
Due to the limited time of our stop, it was impractical to get a
complete rundown of their feeding program.
They were harvesting silage at the time of our visit, with
two East German forage harvesters, which we were only able to
observe from a distance as time did not permit us to stop where the
harvesting operation was taking place. The silage was being hauled
with four-wheel trailers and tractors and unloaded by hand into
trench silos. The chop length was approximately two centimeters
with most of it at a diagonal cut. There appeared to be a greater
variation in length of cut than generally observed with most of the
harvesters in this country.
Adjacent to the silo they were filling, they were removing
silage from another trench silo by hand. The silage was being
loaded into animal-drawn wagons for hauling to the barn for feeding.
The Friendship Farm which we also visited was located in
the northern part of China and has a total land area of 206,000
hectares and 500 milk cows. In comparison, this particular farm
had 4000 horses and a total of 4000 cattle, including the 500 milk
cows. We did not see any of the dairy or beef cattle at the
Again referring to the FAO report, it shows an estimated
cattle population of 65,129,000 in China. In checking the compar-
able figure for the U.S., we have to assume that the above-figure
for China includes all cattle, both dairy and beef.
Subtracting the previous figure given for the number of
dairy cattle and allowing for a 35% replacement number, we arrive
at a total of 56,309,000 beef cattle in China, compared to
107,959,000 for the U.S. The same general relationship of dairy
cattle and milk production in China also exists relative to the
tonnage of beef that is slaughtered. The U.S. has 1.9 times more
beef animals than China; however, they slaughter 7.8 times more
metric tons of beef per year.
These figures reflect the difference in the number of
months required for the animals to reach market weight. From
the various comments that were made on this subject, apparently
very little forage is harvested for winter feeding. With this
type of production system, cattle will gain weight during the
summer but then lose much of it during the winter months.
Status of Agronomic And Animal Husbandry Research In China
According to information received from Professor Zeng
Dechao, professor of agricultural engineering, Peking Institute
of Agricultural Mechanization, there are three agricultural colleges
in China that have animal husbandry and veterinary medicine programs.
Only a general location for these universities was given by
In reviewing the Administrative Atlas for the People's
Republic of China and the World of Learning reference on world
universities, it is assumed that these three universities are:
1. Inter-mongolian University, Huhehot, Inner Mongolia Province,
2. Lanchow University, Lanchow, Kansua Province, Northcentral
3. Unable to find a specific reference for the third university;
however, believe it to be in Urunchi, Sinkiang Province, in
Northwest China. There is a library at that location which
lists 70,000 volumes, which is very small compared to most
of the other libraries in China.
In addition to the three agricultural colleges listed above,
the World of Learning also lists Shansi Agronomy College, Taiyuan,
Shansi Province. Taiyuan is located approximately 300 kl. southwest
It must be recognized that there may be some error in the
naming and selection of these agricultural colleges from the
limited information received during our visit.
Projections indicate that China's population could increase
from somewhat under one billion people at the present time to
between 1.3 and 1.5 billion by the year 2000. This would represent
close to a 50% increase in food needs during the next 20 years. It
is believed they must make a determined effort to increase livestock
production from their grasslands, not only to improve the diets of
their people but also-to increase total food output.
With the adaptation of improved technology China should
be able to substantially increase its ruminant-livestock production.
The greatest challenge may be the transfer of such technology to
the farm level as large land masses are involved. A substantial
number of trained people and effective communication techniques
will be required to transfer new technology to the farmers or
herdsmen, as they are referred to in Chinese literature.
Parallel with the required technology transfer, capital
investment in harvesting equipment will also be needed for the
timely harvesting of forage during periods of maximum growth and
nutritive value. Forage transport, storage and feeding practices
will need to be developed that are economically compatible with
local requirements. Maps of China would indicate that much of
this area has limited transportation facilities, such as roads,
railroads, canals, etc.
We did not have an opportunity to visit with agronomists
and livestock specialists during our travels in China. From con-
versation with engineers on this subject, my impressions are that
the number of qualified researchers and other knowledgeable people
in these fields are limited in relation to needs. It is believed
that outside technical assistance will be required to achieve the
rate of technological advancement desired.
---,.., :~~ el~i
Vice Minister of Agricultural Machinery ASAE President A. M. Best (right)
Ministry Xiang Nan presented sea shell presented a Certificate of Apprecia-
picture to each ASAE delegate. Shown tion to agricultural equipment factory
receiving his is Merle Esmay. host in Shanghai.
LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY PRODUCTION
Merle L. Esmay
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan, USA
Scae 13 percent of the food diet in the Peoples Republic of China is
estimated as being from livestock products (milk, meat and eggs). This is in
contrast to over 50 percent in some western countries. China plans to increase
the livestock product portion in order to improve its nutritional level. Also
China wants to better utilize its grassland resources with increase numbers
of cattle, sheep and goats.
Vice Premier Wang, Ren Zhong emphasized in his briefing for the ASAE
delegation, August 27, 1979, in Beijing, that the mountain and prairie districts
must be developed for more beef cattle and sheep production. He stated that the
large grsssland areas produce little hay because of the undeveloped livestock
industry. Improved grass varieties and better grassland management are needed
to increase hay production. He went on to say that swine and poultry production
have increased some but most attention up to now has been directed towards in-
creasing plant food, fiber and vegetable oil production.
Vice Minister Xaing Nan of the Agricultural Machinery Ministry also
placed emphasis on livestock production during discussions on August 25 and 27
1979 in Beijing. In response to a question about what were the major areas of
concern in the broad field of agricultural mechanization he listed the following:
1. Ecology Balance Between Natural and Cultivated Plants.
2. Improved Grasslands
3. Soil and Water Conservation and Irrigation
4. Research and Experimentation of Agricultural Machinery
5. Development of Livestock Production
6. Improved Feed Industry
This list of areas for more future emphasis indicated the considerable
breadth of concern and responsibilities of the Agricultural Machinery Ministry.
This breadth is in contrast to the Agricultural Machinery title of the Ministry
which implies a narrower focus mainly towards field production power and machinery.
The broader title of Agricultural Engineering might more descriptively include
soil and water management, electric power and feed processing, livestock pro-
duction mechanization as well as field production mechanization.
China consists of 9,600,000 km of land of which same 300 million
hectares are grassland. About 30 percent of China is mountainous and hilly.
These areas provide a great potential for expanded food production. It was pointed
out in a Chinese Society of Agricultural Machinery (CSAM) paper offered by Mr.
Tuan, Chih Cheng, In August, 1979, that the 300 million ha of grassland remain
mostly undeveloped while in the United States 130 million cattle are maintained
on about 200 million ha of grassland. China has an estimated 10 million cattle
now. There was only an estimated 400,000 milk cows in China in 1979. This aver-
ages out to one milk cow for each 2250 people. Most of the milk cows are lo-
cated near the large cities.
Estimated livestock numbers (given in millions of head) in China are
1977 1978 1979
Hogs 292 301 309
Sheep and Goats 161 170 190
Large Animals 94 94 94
Goats make up about 40 percent of the sheep and goat category. The large animal
category includes cattle, horses, donkeys, mules and camels. Of this number
about 10 million head are cattle. The beef cattle are mainly grazed over the
vast grasslands of the north and northwest and the semi mountainous regions of
the south and south-west.
Pork makes up the major animal meat diet in China. The annual pork
output is similar to that of the USA on a per capital basis. Hog production is
scattered throughout China, although there tends to be greater concentrations
of hogs around the large cities. There are now a few large intensified hog
production enterprises with numbers of hogs in the hundreds of thousands.
The number of poultry, chickens and ducks, are hard to estimate as
most peasent families have some. Large intensified poultry farms are being
developed. There are now more than 30 farms with over 100,000 chickens each.
There are now slightly over 500 communes and state farms producing 1300 million
chickens. Of these 500 communes 121 are in the Beijing area and 299 in and near
Shanghai. To date the emphasis has been on egg production, however meat type
broilers are being increased rapidly.
Livestock and Poultry Production Facilities
Development of mechanized, intensive livestock and poultry production
facilities in China is now in the initial stage. A few isolated large modernized
egg and milk production enterprises have been established on state farms and
large comnues generally near the densely populated urban centers. Generally
speaking the livestock and poultry facilities are quite traditional and labor
One dairy farm was visited by the ASAE delegation on the Red Star
commune near Beijing. In one stanchon type miking barn there were mechanical
milking units connected to a pipe line delivery system. From the pipe line the
milk went into milk cans thus it was not a complete bulk handling system. Other
barns of this same dairy enterprise were of a more traditional type consisting
of open sheds and hand milking. The two adjacent pictures show these two types
of milking systems. We saw only one of nine dairy farms on this one commune
which had a total of 2200 cows.
A horizontal bunker type silo was being filled with freshly cut
forage on this same dairy farm. It appeared to be an economical and appropriate
storage facility although not very mechanized nor sophisticated. Some of the
silage was being hauled from the field to the silo with tractor pulled wagons
and some by horse pulled wagons. As shown in the pictures.
The ASAE delegation visited one poultry, egg production, enterprise
on a coamune in the Shanghai area. This coamune was 56.6 km in area with 2260
ha of farm land. Of this farm land 156 ha were used by private families (about
7 percent of the total). The total population was 22,915 people consisting of
6100 families and a labor force of 14,000. Income to each individual was stated
as being in accordance with the work done. The comrune was organized into 17
brigades and they in turn into 168 production teams. There were 14 enterprises
financially responsible to the brigade level.
The ccamnne had 2 junior high schools, 1 high school, 18 primary
schools, 24 kindergardens, 158 nurseries and one 90 bed hospital. Each brigade
had a clinic with 3 or 4 "barefoot" doctors. All medical care and schooling
was free unless families had more than the prescribed on child. We were told
that families that have the second child receive only expenses for one, and
if they have more than two the allocation for the one child is reduced. The
commune had 37 apartment buildings with an area of 30,000 m Women retire at
60 and men at 65 years of age.
The commune produced sare 360,000 fowl and 2700 pigs in 1978. Some
270,000 kg of eggs were produced and marketed. One of the egg producing poultry
enterprises was inspected by the delegation. Everyone entering the facilities
of the poultry farm was first required for purposes of disease control to put
on rubber boots, a white coat and a white hat.
There were all stages of mechanization in this one egg production
enterprise. The most mechanized building was equipped with wall to wall cages
and a moving platform above for management of the birds. Feed and water dis-
tribution and the collecting of eggs and waste materials was all mechanized.
There were a few small ventilation fans in the sidewalls as well as windows.
Eggs were collected on a belt conveyor and then placed by hand into straw
padded boxes. Another egg production building was equipped with double-deck
stair-step type cages. This seemed to be a more appropriate level of mechaniza-
tion as feed gathering could either be by hand or semi mechanized with a motor-
ized conveyor feed cart and egg gathering was by hand. One of the other buildings
was for the production of fertile eggs, thus it was a floor-type. A false floor
on which the birds could move freely was made of bamboo slats and suspended
1/2 meter above the concrete floor of the building where a manure scraper
Pipeline mk ... Wall to wl f,. .. p, cages.
Pipeline milking system at commune dairy. Wall to wall, flat deck poultry cages.
Bamboo trusses for farm buildings.
Welcome to commune poultry farm. Boots
and coats worn by Esmay and Taylor were
provided for disease control.
This appeared to be a very practical and low cost arrangement for a breeding
The cage equipped houses and in particular the wall-to-wall cage oper-
ation were not complete systems. Environmental control for the house was inad-
equate. Insulation and controlled air movement were minimal. Egg handling was
mechanized from the cages but then reverted to hand movement and packaging in
quite crude straw lined boxes in which cracking was undoubtedly quite prevalent.
Better environmental control will increase production during both cold and hot
weather seasons. The high cost of mechanized egg production systems is difficult
to justify with just labor efficiency unless complete enough to increase pro-
duction during hot and cold season, maintain high quality with proper egg cooling,
minimize feed required per dozen eggs and reduce cracked eggs to an acceptable
The available curricula in the agricultural colleges and teaching
institutes provided little or in most cases no opportunity for training in the
field of livestock and poultry production mechanization and housing. This was
in spite of the emphasis placed on increasing livestock production by both
Vice Premier Wang, Ren Zhong and Vice Minister Xaing Nan.
The teaching curricula as now structured do not allow much opportunity
for inclusion of courses pertaining to the principles of environmental control,
ventilation system design, building design, materials handling mechanization
and product quality control. The undergraduate curricula now in evidence are
quite specialized towards agricultural mechanization (mainly crop production
machinery). In some cases there were separate specialized curricula for the
agricultural tractor and machinery manufacturing processes.
Such specialized curricula at the undergraduate level leave little
opportunity for including any academic training in such fields as livestock
and poultry housing, soil and water conservation or feed handling and process-
ing. Further more it seems undesirable to introduce a completely separate spe-
cialized curriculum in each of these areas as the need arises.
There would seem to be an increasingly imperative justification for
the development and introduction of a more generalized four year undergraduate
curriculum in the broad agricutlural engineering field. There could be some
flexibility for a student to specialize in one of the main areas but all
students would be provided a basic background for the whole undergraduate
field. Also the basic agricultural engineering curriculum should include sane
basic agricultural courses on soils, crops, animals and biological products.
Agricultural engineers must know the agricultural application of engineering
to agriculture or they will nave no advantage over mechanical, industrial or
strucutral engineering graduates. Students that then want to specialize fur-
ther in one of the main areas could go into a master's level graduate pro-
gram where in depth training would be more appropriate.
The Beijing Institute of Agricultural Mechanization has introduced,
among other specialties, a graduate program in optimization of confined poultry.
The problem seems to be that of where do qualified students come from for en-
trance to such a program.
Graduates from agricultural machinery undergraduate programs going into the
livestock housing program would necessarily have to be taught at the graduate
level some quite elementary principles of environment, psychrometrics and heat
transfer, as well as more about biological materials, and animal behavior and
An extensive study of the possibility of introducing broader agri-
cultural engineering type curricula into appropriate colleges and institutes
would seem to be highly desirable. This might be an opportune time to make
such changes as the various teaching institutions are being reorganized follow-
ing the "cultural revolution".
t;'.^.~- i-;.-- ^?*^ ?^
^f1 2'^e^^ '^ f^
Live hog being taken to slaughterhouse
Pork halves being taken to market from
slaughterhouse in Shanghai.
Disciplined bicycle riders in broad
street in Beijing (Peking).
State operated vegetable market in
IMPRESSIONS OF CHINA AFTER 30 YEARS
THOUGHTS ON ENERGY USE IN CHINESE AGRICULTURE
Mark D. Shaw
Department of Agricultural Engineering
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania
I keep remembering what we used to say when I was in China
30 years ago. "Foreigners who spent a week in China went home
and wrote a book all about China. Those who stayed a month
limited their publications to a brief magazine article, and those
who stayed for a year or more knew better than to write anything."
I also remember a comment made by a British friend who
visited China in the 1950's. I had said that I would like to
have an impartial report on China because I suspected everything
I read as being propaganda, either for or against the government
of the People's Republic. He replied that the consensus of his
group was to believe everything one heard or read, but to recog-
nize that the conflicting reports were of specific instances,
and it was not possible to make any simple generalizations which
would give a complete and accurate picture of what it's like in
China. Perhaps this is another way of saying that all generali-
zations, including this one, are wrong.
In any case, I trust that the impressions which were gained
on the trip, and which are being passed along to other agricul-
tural engineers will contribute to greater knowledge and under-
standing, even though they are based on a very brief and limited
I had worked in China with the Friends Ambulance Unit, later
the Friends Service Unit from June 1946 until June 1950. From
June 1946 until September 1949 I worked at three locations in
Henan Province near the Yellow River. Two of the projects were
rehabilitation of hospitals which had been severely damaged
during the war with Japan. The third was a village rehabilita-
tion project in the town of Zhong Mou which had been largely
washed away when the Yellow River was diverted south by the
Nationalist Chinese army in 1938, and further destroyed in the
fighting. The project included a medical clinic which grew into
a 40-bed hospital with extensive out-patient facilities and
mobile medical teams, a textile cooperative, brick kiln, peanut
oil press, foundry, machine shop, well drilling teams and a
The area was occupied by a Communist army group for a few
days in December 1947, again for a couple of weeks in July 1948,
and was permanently liberated in October 1948. My wife and I left
the mainland in September 1949 to set up a liason office in Hong
Kong to facilitate communication between the Unit in China and
the home offices in Philadelphia and London. Work in Henan and
in western China came to a close in 1951 when the last of the
personnel had to return home and it was impossible to obtain
entry visas for replacements. Many of the activities were taken
over by the Communist government and hopefully made a small
contribution to the overall development of the town and the
China in the 1940's was in the throes of trying to recover
from more than a hundred years of foreign intervention, from the
breakdown of government and society which started with the de-
cline of the Manchu Dynasty and continued through the establish-
ment of the Republic by Sun Yat Sen in 1911, the war with Japan,
and the civil war which ended with the establishment of the
Peoples Republic of China on October 1, 1949. It is no wonder
that agriculture, industry, education, and other social institu-
tions were is a shambles.
The achievements of the Communist Party in China over the
past 30 years are truly awe inspiring. The pride in the accom-
plishments of the country which I felt among all of the Chinese
people with whom we came in contact is more than justified. But
there was little inclination to rest on their laurels. There is
a sense of challenge and urgency in facing new and continuing
problems, and a sense of personal commitment to achieving solu-
tions. I remember the same feeling in the U.S. in 1942 in the
early days of our involvement in the war.
Some of the things which impressed visitors in the old China
were poverty, beggars, disease, and flies. We saw almost none of
these now. It is hard to remember that until 1945 western powers
claimed extraterritoriality and controlled large sectors of Shang-
hai and other cities, that until 1949 the inflation rate was
1,000% a year, until it went higher. There is no inflation in
China today. And, although our primary interest was agriculture
and agriculture related industry, one could not but be aware that
education, medical and other services are available today at
levels that were almost unthinkable 30 years ago. Also, although
I knew to expect it, it was amazing to be able to leave cameras,
and other valuables in unlocked train compartments and hotel
rooms with no fear that they would disappear.
Another impression of differences was the roads which were
dirt tracks across the fields, and are now paved in the country
as well in the towns and cities. As I remember it trees were a
rarity in China. Today they are abundant, providing shade along
roads and city streets, acting as windbreaks on the north China
plains, controlling erosion on hillsides, and, under controlled
cutting, providing a supply of fuel.
One of the disappointments of the trip was that we did not
hear any political speeches. I say disappointment because I
wanted to learn what the social and political emphases are today.
All of the people we met were more interested in talking about
agricultural machinery and agriculture in general. This is in
direct contrast to the experience of visitors to China a few
years ago. A Penn State delegation visited China in 1974 when
the campaign against the teachings of Confucius was at its
height, and each stop on the tour brought a speech which was a re-
petition of current government policy.
In 1979 the situation seemed relaxed. There seemed little
compulsion to talk to foreigners, nor was there any reluctance
to do so. People on the street seemed to have a friendly and
mildly curious attitude toward us. The courtesy and friendli-
ness of our official contacts could not have been better.
I do not believe that there is any widespread hunger in
China today. Everyone seemed to have an adequate supply of the
basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. There are few luxu-
ries and housing is crowded, but the overall effect of the pri-
vations that do exist seemed to be not personal resentment, but
rather a sense of personal dedication to working to improve the
conditions for everyone.
In the past 30 years Chinese agriculture has changed from
patterns which were hundreds of years old to rapidly changing
patterns of crops and practices. Chinese industry has grown
from a few limited efforts in textiles, mining and whatever else
would yield a high profit for investors to a broad based industry
providing almost.all of the needs of the country. Today there is
a concerted effort to use available resources to develop new
industries which will best meet the needs of the country.
Agricultural land in China had traditionally been broken up
into small plots, often a fraction of an acre in size, even though
an individual farmer might share-crop or even own a larger area.
Today the commune system permits fields to be sized according to
crop needs, soil conditions, water supply, topography and other
natural factors or mechanization needs. We saw many fields in
the north that were 50 hectares or more in size.
One of the surprises to me was the area devoted to corn pro-
duction for food. Corn has replaced a lot of the sorghum and
millet, giving higher production in areas where irrigation water
has become available. Irrigation has become widespread, and can
now be developed on a regional basis rather than for individual
farms or fields.
Three weeks is too short a time to reach any reliable con-
clusions about mechanization in China. China's climate and
cropping seasons are similar to the U.S. and at least as varied.
It would have been interesting to be in China in the spring to
see tractors and other tillage equipment in the fields. It
would have been nice to be there during the harvest to see com-
bines and other harvesting equipment and methods. We were told
that 90% of the land in the northern part of the country is
plowed with tractors. Rototillers are used extensively in the
rice areas in the south.
Most of the 4-wheel and 2-wheel walking tractors that we saw
outside of the factories where they were being manufactured were
being used on the road to pull trailers moving people and a
variety of agricultural and other goods. Crawlers were reported
to be used extensively in agriculture. I am still uncertain
whether soil conditions are sufficiently different than in the
U.S. to require crawlers, whether their tillage and other farm
operations are done at a slower speed and higher draft, or
whether it is largely a matter of custom and habit which has
grown up in recent years.
It would have been interesting to have had time to learn
more about how grain is stored in what appeared to be mud and
straw bins, and what methods and used to control spoilage and
My seminar topic and area of special interest related to
energy.use, and the integration of machines, animals and human
labor in agricultural production. China is certainly aware of
energy requirements and constraints in agriculture, but from a
quite different perspective than ours. I was not aware of much
concern about supplies of diesel fuel, but rather a great inter-
est in increasing agricultural mechanization which will mean
greater fuel use. Since China's present level of mechanization
is low, a large percentage increase in fuel use should not be-
come a serious problem for some time.
There seemed to be only a few animals used in agriculture,
at least compared to India where bullocks and water buffalo pro-
vide the major source of power. With about 80% of the population
involved in agriculture, a large amount of human energy is and
must be used.
While we did not see as much farm operation as we would have
liked because of the season of the year, I was impressed with the
variety of energy inputs in other areas. In Beijing we saw men
and women with brooms cleaning the streets. We also saw small
and large mechanical street sweepers. On almost any street or
country road one saw trucks, tractors with trailers, horse carts,
and hand carts moving materials. We saw cars, bicycles, busses,
and tractors with trailers moving passengers. On rivers and
canals we saw ocean vessels, diesel tugs pulling barges, sampans
propelled with poles or oars and junks with sails. I got the
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Diesel driven generator operated on
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Y| V. ISIr T AD VICE
Welcome sign at one of factories
10-row paddy transplanter.
Corn and soybeans interplanted.
impression that when there is a job to do, it was done with what-
ever was available without any rigid preconceptions of whether
this was a job to be done with a machine, an animal or humanpower.
One of the major energy inputs to American agriculture is
for fertilizer manufacture, mainly nitrogen. China's use of
chemical fertilizer has risen dramatically, but China, unlike
the U.S., does utilize about all of the available manure, both
animal and human. These recycled plant nutrients reduce the
fossil fuel energy needed for comparable soil fertility levels.
Fertilizer production is being expanded, but I expect that
chemical fertilizer will continue to supplement rather than
replace organic materials.
We saw one biogas facility that was using municipal sewage
to produce gas for a modified diesel engine driving a 75 kW
generator supplying power to the municipal power line. We also
saw several 400 to 1000 kW hydro-electric installations which had
been developed locally using largely local resources to supply
power to meet local needs.
We saw corn interplanted with soybeans in various row
arrangements, and were told that experiments showed higher yield
from both crops that when they were grown separately. Since re-
turning from China I have read of a Pennsylvania farmer who is
interplanting corn and soybeans. I think that there is much that
we can learn from China in the area of soil fertility and plant
Agriculture in China, as in any country, must be viewed as
one part of the total picture which includes questions of popu-
lation, resources and social organization. China seems to be
doing a better job than the U.S. of controlling unemployment by
dividing the work among the available people. This may result
in,more people being employed to do a given job than are really
needed. I wondered how different this is from our societies.
While there are those of us who are overworked and underpaid,
there are those of you who are underworked and overpaid. I think
that there is a difference in the Chinese attitude about this
problem. China seems to espouse the policy that unemployment is
a societal problem which society must solve, while we tend to see
it an an individual problem which the individual must solve.
Perhaps the difference can be illustrated by two statements:
Society must not suffer because of the individual
The individual must not suffer because of society.
One hears repeatedly that the ideal of Chinese society is to
serve the people. Our prevailing ideal seems more toward the
achievement of personal success. It would be just as inaccurate
to say that no-one in China is motivated by personal ambition as
it would be to say that no-one in our countries is altruisticly
motivated to serve humanity. I feel that we can learn from China
in exchangining ideas on social as well as technical issues.
China is not a free society as we use the term. The indi-
vidual in China is not free to live wherever he or she wishes, to
travel at will or to change jobs. But for most there is greater
freedom than the Chinese have ever had before. There is freedom
from hunger and disease, freedom from foreign domination, and
freedom to participate in the development of China within the
framework of the communist social and political system. Without
doubt a Chinese who tried to overthrow the present regime to
establish a western democracy would suffer at least as severe a
fate as a U.S. citizen who tried to overthrow our present system
to establish a regime along Chinese communist lines.
It is said that only he who does nothing makes no mistakes.
China in recent years seems to have acted on the premise that to
do nothing is the biggest mistake of all. There have been mis-
takes. A number of passing references and informal comments on
the cultural revolution and the gang of four indicated that many
now feel the cultural revolution was a mistake, but in spite of
everything the accomplishments far outweigh the setbacks. While
a year or two ago visitors to China heard the gang of four being
blamed for China's problems, the present attitude seemed to be a
constructive one of seeking ways to proceed from here without
dwelling on the past.
Attitudes in China, as elsewhere in the world have ranged
from acceptance to wholehearted rejection of western technology.
Today, China is travelling a middle road, seeking to learn from
the west, but seeking a uniquely Chinese solution, as it should
Current Chinese policy continues to emphasize self reliance
and self sufficiency at all levels from the country as a whole
to the province, county and commune, brigade and production team.
Local groups are urged to use local resources to solve local prob-
lems, and are doing it with marked success. Can we learn some-
thing here that will benefit our own society?
Our schedule was busy, and we saw and learned more than we
had hoped, but one of the frustrations was being unable to make
as many helpful and constructive responses as we would have wished
to the frequently repeated request, "Please give us your comments
and suggestions." We were there for too short a time to gain the
knowledge and experience of local conditions to make many specific
I trust that in coming years there will be many more oppor-
tunities for exchange between members of the Chinese Society for
Agricultural Machinery and the American Society of Agricultural
Engineers, opportunities to learn from each other and to enable
us all to deal more effectively with our common problem of pro-
viding adequate food and the other necessities of life for
Agricultural Machinery Manufacturing Plants in
People's Republic of China .. . .. .. pgs. 38-42
Charles E. McKeon
Tillage Machinery and Cultural Practices ...... pgs. 43-48
Howard G. Thompson
Grain Production, Harvesting and
Mechanization in the People's
Lawrence H. Skromme
Republic of China .pgs. 49-58
AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY MANUFACTURING PLANTS
IN PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
C. E. McKeon
Ford Tractor Operations
Fifteen members of an ASAE delegation visited the People's Republic
of China between August 18 and September 8, 1979, and had an opportunity to
tour the facilities and visit with the staff of several manufacturing plants,
universities, research institutions, communes, and a state farm. Each
member of our delegation agreed to study and observe subjects that paralleled
his own area of experience and interest, and to prepare a short report on
conclusions and observations. This report is limited to my observations
while touring the nine manufacturing plants on our itinerary.
Our tour started in the Northeast province of China, at Harbin and
Jiamusi, where we visited a grain drill factory, disc harrow factory, and
self-propelled combine and thresher factory. At Changchun, we visited an
agricultural tractor factory, and in Peking, an engine factory that manu-
factured a 4-cylinder diesel tractor engine and a small 4-cylinder gasoline
engine. At Luoyang, we visited the largest tractor factory in China. This
factory manufactured a 75 HP crawler tractor. In Shanghai, we visited a
tractor factory and a rototiller factory, and at Canton, a combine and plow
During this 21-day tour, we also visited three universities, three
agricultural machinery research institutes, four communes, a state farm, an
industrial exhibition, and many other points of interest along our travel
While each of the plants we visited generally manufactured products
specifically for the Province (State) in which it was located, the plants
all had many features and operating characteristics that were common to all.
Rear wheels manufactured on a rim
rolling machine, built at the Changchun
Tractor Manufacturing Works, Changchun,
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line at Feng-Chou
First production of self-propelled
combines designed and built at the
Jiamusi Combine Harvester Factory,
Forging plow shears in the Guangdong
Tractor Drawn Farm Equipment Factory
at Guangdong (Canton), China.
Factories, to the maximum extent possible, were self-sufficient and independent
of outside suppliers, making all types of parts and components for their
product. Each factory had its own foundry to pour castings. Some of the
foundries were moderately mechanized with sand slingers and cope and drag
vibrators and organized for systematic flow of material, from making the molds,
pouring, and shaking out of castings. The majority of the foundries lacked
mechanization and processed all molding operations by hand. The working con-
ditions were dark and dusty. Based on observations, at casting shake out, it
appeared that the casting quality was not as good as it could be, and many had
to be repaired or scrapped. From general observation, it appeared that all
the castings had liberal material allowance on machined surfaces. Most
managers of plants and foundries commented on the fact that their foundry
practices and equipment were out of date. They recognized that greater
foundry technology and more mechanized equipment would result in greater
yield of sound casting and reduced machining time.
One of the implement plants expected to start building a new foundry
within a year, while the tractor plant in Luoyang was installing new and
modern equipment for a computer controlled electric arc furnace and automatic
molding and pouring equipment. The new equipment for the foundry was manu-
factured in China and is expected to be operational in 1980. Based on the
equipment being installed, it is evident that China has the necessary
advanced foundry technology. However, it will be difficult to advance and
develop foundry technology throughout China unless specialty foundries are
established to supply several manufacturing operations and plants in place of
the small foundries at each plant. The specialty approach will necessitate
deviation from previous practices of plant self-sufficiency.
Each of the nine manufacturing operations also have forging capabilities.
In some cases, the equipment appeared under-utilized. Each of the manufac-
turing operations made parts such as gear blanks, spindles, shafts, etc. Some
forgings were made with sequential forging dies while others were forged to a
"gauged" size. Some of the forging shops also lacked adequate lighting and
appeared to have only an earth floor, while others had sufficient lighting,
acceptable floors, and well-maintained machinery.
All the plants also had stamping capabilities. The grain drill plant
stamped the disc opener manifold and spot welded together the half section.
From strip stock, they also formed the spiral wound seed tubes and stamped
.and heat-treated their disc openers. The disc harrow factory made its own
discs from rolled sheet stock. Discs were produced with a sequential system
in which the discs were stamped, sharpened on a lathe, manually placed on a
furnace conveyor where they were heated and hot-formed on a two-man press.
They were then hand-inserted into a heat-treat furnace and automatically
quenched. The product engineers commented that their discs did not seem to
hold a cutting edge and wear well.
All the manufacturing plants we visited had gear cutting capabilities.
The tractor and engine plants appeared to have adequate quantity and quality
of common gear cutting equipment. The rototiller plant seemed to have more
gear cutting equipment than could be justified by the complexity and volume
of the product. Much of the equipment appeared to be over-staffed. The
material flow and assembly were accomplished in an assembly line order, although
there were no mechanically moving assembly lines.
In all the plants, particularly with stand-alone machine operations, a
high percentage of the operators were girls who had graduated from high school
in the last few years and were on a three-year apprentice program. Since they
were apprentices, it was assumed that in most cases when more than one operator
was at a machine, one was an experienced operator and one an apprentice and
helper. At all plants there appeared to be an excess of machine capability.
It was explained that some of the machines were idle because the plant had met
its production quota for the month, or the product had been discontinued, or
as in one instance, there was not sufficient electrical power to permit run-
ning all machines simultaneously and that machines were split between two
Many of the plants had made some of their own production machines, and
some were also making parts for production machines concurrent with manufac-
turing the product. The tractor plant at Changchun had made its own rear
wheel rim equipment. The tractors were equipped with 11x28 tires and, there-
fore, only one rim size was required. It is likely, however, that other sizes
in tire diameter and width could be made with minor modifications to the
There was very little evidence of employee safety measures in any of the
plants. Presses could be operated with one hand while the other hand inserted
and removed stock. Some gear and chain drives were unguarded, no specific
aisleways evident, and lighting was generally poor. In foundries and forge
shops, some workers were wearing sandals.
The outstanding characteristic of many of the plants was the capability
of these plants to operate the large varieties of functions on a relatively
small production base; however, their independence from suppliers outside their
immediate area tended to permit an operation in isolation and allowed the plant
to become satisfied with its own design, processes and management approach.
There appeared to be an increasing concern for "quality" in the product.
There was no obvious indication of quality control, although some plants had
instituted a statistical approach and were obtaining evidence of improved
In plants where assembly lines were established, they appeared well
organized and systemized, and assembly quality did not appear to be the major
It is expected that greater use of gauges, fixtures and increased plant
lighting would be a major contributor to achieving quality in many of the
machining operations. Some of the operations were also approaching quality
and reliability with new design. We observed a new self-propelled combine
that appeared comparable to American small sized combines. The machines were
being assembled on a line where they are orderly and progressively built up.
The impression one received was that each assembler was capable and making a
concerted effort to do the job right.
Many of the present plants are diversified, with products that are very
different in their production requirements and field usage. For example, one
plant manufactured tractor-mounted combines and large "sod buster" type plows
for crawler tractors. Future plans for this plant are to eliminate plow pro-
duction and specialize in combines. It would seem that this action alone
will raise the quality level.
Observations from our various research institutes and university visits
during this tour provided evidence that current U.S. manufacturing technology
is also available in the People's Republic of China. The nucleus of the tech-
nology, however, is very limited and isolated, and for that reason is not now
available at the manufacturing plant level.
In most of the plants we visited, the facilities, production processes,
and the production management and control appeared to be similar to U.S.
conditions and practices during the 1940's. However, because the nucleus of
the technology is available, and China is pursuing technical exchange in the
world markets, it is likely that the gap will be closed vary rapidly.
Excellent machine tools are used in
farm equipment factories.
Some fairly labor-intensive factory
operations are in evidence.
Professor Zhang (right) explains disk
harrow blade design to Howard Thompson
(left). Observers are interpreter
Mr. Soong and plant chief engineer.
Howard G. Thompson
Manager Tillage Engineering
Looking at a corn field with its long rows and dark green color
just outside Harbin in Northern Manchuria, you might think that
you were anywhere in the U.S. corn belt. There is great similarity
in the way this corn grows. The means of tilling the land, planting,
cultivating and harvesting, however, is quite different. The heavy
plowing in this area is done with a wide variety of power. Horses,
small two-wheel tractors with one bottom plow, four-wheel tractors
with some mounted plows and in many cases crawler tractors with
mounted plows or large drawn plows. Many of these drawn plows with
an operator riding the plow for proper depth control.
There is another great difference here. As you are travelling along
it is not only corn that you see, but a wide variety of crops. These
include soy beans, sorghum, millet, potatoes, hemp, sunflowers, wheat,
tobacco and vegetables such as cabbage, beans, lettuce, onions, egg-
plant and others which I could not identify.
While much of the heavy plowing is done with tractors, the cultivating
of the row crops appeared to be mainly done with oxen, horses and by
the people with hand tools. The fields in this area are quite large,
but several crops may be grown in the same field and in some cases the
bean rows will change to corn part way across the field. This is a
practice that will have to be altered if the crops are to be planted,
cultivated and harvested mechanically by large machines. Some fields
were continuous corn and possibly the farmers are already in the process
of planning for mechanization.
Some of the row crops in this area indicated the need of good row crop
cultivators since grass and weeds were present between the rows.
Farther north near Jiamusi, there was a much greater percentage of
wheat. This was in some cases being harvested by combines, both pull-
type and self propelled. Some of the grain had been cut and shocked
in the fields to be hauled in and threshed later.
The wheat in this area was drilled by end wheel drills. The row
spacing was 75mm which was accomplished by having seed dispensing
units spaced at 150mm on the grain drill and using a splitter on
the boot of the opener. The narrow row spacing was used to help
control weeds during early grain growth.
Grain drills are manufactured at a plant in Harbin. The drill is
a rugged appearing machine with attached fertilizer box. It is
driven by two large steel end wheels. The plant makes its own
castings and disc blades for the openers as well as fabricating
parts and assembling the machine. Team assembly work is used on the
high volume opener components.
Drawn non-wheel type tandem and offset disc harrows are built in a
plant at Jiamusi. They build between 6000 and 8000 disc harrows per
year at this plant. These are about three meters wide with 50mm
blades. The bearings are an eight piece wooden bearing type fitted
to a machined bearing spool. This plant also has a foundry that
pours it's own castings and manufactures spherical disc blades. These
are the type of disc harrows that were used in North America as the
transition was made from horse drawn implements to tractor drawn
beginning in the late 1930's.
There seems to be a complete absence of tine type tillage equipment
in any of the areas we have visited at this time. Some of the soils
would appear to be of the type that the use of a field cultivator
could allow the crops to be planted earlier during a wet spring.
The soil in the Harbin and Jiamusi areas which I have seen is mainly
a loam type. It appears to work up fairly easily. The rain fall is
not always enough to grow a full crop, therefore, some fields are
irrigated and other are in the process of being prepared for irrigation.
On a visit to the Friendship Farm, about three hours drive out of
Jiamusi, modern John Deere machinery was observed working in the field.
This was the first year of use for these machines and will be used as
a test area for the possible use of this type of equipment in other
areas. Since this area is short of moisture, reversible plows were
being used in the large level fields to maintain the desired contour
for irrigation. The wheat straw was being removed by stack wagons for
such uses as animal feed and winter bedding.
The fields viewed along the railroad between Jiamusi and Beijing were
being farmed mostly by animal power. Teams of oxens, small horses,
combination teams of mules and oxen were observed pulling plows and
small soil working tools. During this portion of the trip, I observed
only one crawler type tractor working in the field. This tractor was
pulling a four bottom deep furrow plow with a riding operator.
Grain drill from Harbin.
Cut out disk and reversible plow.
Dong Fang Hong 28 tractors.
Moldboard plow and planter.
There were many two-wheel and four-wheel tractors observed in use
to transport products. Some were hauling produce from the fields,
but most were in use on the roads moving all types of farm produce
and building materials.
The land in this area had corn, soybeans, millet, sorghum, seasame,
peanuts, a variety of vegetable crops and as the warmer low areas
were reached, rice became very prominent. Where wind erosion had
been evident in these parts, lines of trees were planted in the
flat areas to prevent wind damage. Large fields were evident in
these areas and mainly corn, millet, soybeans, potatoes and sorghum
was grown. Some of the corn and beans had been planted with a six
row planter. Many fields had four rows of corn and two rows of beans
which would not be easily harvested with large mechanized equipment.
At Chagchun the Dang Fang Hong 28, four-wheel tractors are built.
This is a two cylinder 28 horsepower diesel tractor. It is a rugged
functional tractor with three point linkage for mounted tillage tools
using gage wheels for depth control. This tractor had adjustable
wheel tread for use with row crop equipment.
One of the interesting tillage implements at Jilin University of
Technology was a machine that lifted corn roots from the soil. This
was designed to lift the roots and move them into a window. The
window could then be collected enabling the complete utilization
of the corn plant.
The land along the railroad between Chagchun and Beijing shows evidence
of excessive erosion damage but a tremendous amount of work had been
carried out to correct this problem and make the land productive. Since
most of this work is done by shovel and hand carts, it is difficult to
appreciate the effort required by the local farm workers. In the edge
of the hills, the land is terraced and then farmed. This soil is a
loes type of soil that will erode very easily when excess water is
available. This is evident by the small deep ditches in the recently
constructed track bed of the railroad.
The farmers around Beijing were using many two-wheel and four-wheel
tractors for transporting produce along the roads. We were told that
these tractors were used in the fields for tillage operations when
Two crops a year are raised on many of the farms in this area. The
main crops grown are wheat and rice. They also raise corn, cotton,
peanuts, and soybeans as field crops. A lot of personal care was being
given to fields of vegetables and small garden plots.
The land between Biejing and Luoyang is similar to the wind
blown bluffs you see along the Missouri River. Where possible
it is farmed, and in some areas small terraces have been cut in
the steep side hills to retain the trees that have been planted.
In the wide valleys quite large fields of corn were growing.
Fields for other crops were being plowed and tilled by teams of
oxen and horses.
The main factory for making crawler tractors in China is located
at Luoyang. They build one 75 horsepower tractor, a crawler model,
which is used mostly for agricultural. It has an auxiliary hydraulic
system and may be equipped with three point linkage for use with
fully mounted tillage equipment.
We have seen this tractor in use in the fields with both pull-type
and fully mounted plows. At the Guangdong Implement Plant, an
axial plow rice combine was mounted on one of these crawler tractors.
This plant is scheduled to produce 22000 crawler tractors this year.
The Luoyang Plant also manufacturers a 40 horsepower four-wheel
tractor. This tractor has three-point linkage and hydraulic draft
control. It was very similar in appearance to tractors of this type
built in Europe and the United States.
The Institute of Tractor Research at Luoyang were working as a special
paddy field tractor. This was a low horsepower three-wheel tractor
with a boat shaped body that would help support the vehicle weight in
the soft paddy fields. It had a small linkage on the back for mounting
The Shanghai Tractor Plant builds 35 horsepower four-wheel tractors
mainly for use in the paddy fields. These utilize the mounted plows,
planters and cut out disc harrows which were seen at Beijing, at the
Shanghai Farm Machinery Research Institute and Guangdong Farm Implement
Where possible in South China, three crops of rice a year are grown.
This requires a minimum of lost time between each crop. The Shanghai
Farm Machinery Plant produces a rice transplanter and the Guangdong
Research Institute demonstrated a rice plant lifter and a rice trans-
planter to the delegation. These types of tools will greatly reduce
the amount of human labor normally required to transplant the young
rice plants. It will also reduce the time necessary to plant the rice
allowing a greater number of growing days for the plants to develop.
The development of tillage and planting tools that will fully
utilize the working capacity of the 40 horsepower rating tractors
would have a wide range of application. The proper training of
managers and operators in the efficient use of these combinations
is very necessary to obtain the maximum return on machinery, land
and time investment.
Buffalo plowing. Modern tractor plowing..
GRAIN PRODUCTION, HARVESTING AND HANDLING
MECHANIZATION IN THE
PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
Lawrence H. Skromme
Consulting Agricultural Engineer
2150 Landis Valley Road
Lancaster, PA 17601
The strongest personal impact during our China visit was to see with
my own eyes the teeming millions and extreme density of their population--
with each person appearing well fed, well clothed, healthy and content. When
considering that China feeds and clothes over one-fifth of the world's
population with less than 7% of our globe's total cultivated land area (less
than 1/8 hectare per capital we can only marvel at the high level of her food
and fiber production.
While we also learned that the Chinese diet is extremely varied, grain
is the major food source. Not yet quite self-sufficient in grain production,
China's annual grain output is tremendous,
Two other striking impressions of China were, first, how far China
has progressed in some phases of modernization and second, how very far she
has yet to go in other aspects. For example, trains and planes in China
appeared to be operating quite effectively and efficiently, running on time
and the tracks were in better condition than our Amtrak. But the bulk of
China's grain production operations that we saw relied largely on human and
animal power and much of their crops were produced by what we would consider
to be hand-gardening methods.
Other surprising observations were the vast acreage of corn we saw
growing in Northern China and how far north they are successfully growing rice.
From the planes, our long train rides, and bus trips traveling between and
around the cities of Beijing, Harbin, Jiamusi and Changchun we kept on seeing
huge corn fields that often appeared to stretch away almost endlessly. Not
only the vast fields of good corn, but also much of the terrain, the soil and
climate were strikingly similar to our northern corn belt and adjacent Great
And as we went north out of the inland city of Jiamusi on our bus trip
to the large Friendship State Farm, I was amazed to see heavy crops of rice
growing at a latitude of 47 north--which also passes through our States of
Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Northern Wisconsin, Michigan's Upper
Peninsula and the northern edge of Mainel This rice was being grown by
communes of Korean immigrant farmers that were specialists in growing rice in
northern climates and we noted a number of small experimental plots with neat
white identification markers.
The overall progress, current status, and plans for agricultural
mechanization in the People's Republic of China may best be presented by
quoting verbatim from the text of a briefing document given us on this subject
"A Briefing on the Situation of
Farm Mechanization of China
"1. Reviewing the course of the mechanization
"In China, great attention has been devoted to farm mechanization all along.
The road that we have followed is to achieve the farm collectivization first
and the mechanization second.
"In the early years following the liberation, large quantities of hand
tools such as hoes, spades, picks and sickles were made to replenish the short-
age of farm implements, and animal drawn implements were produced and popular-
ized to meet the urgent needs of recovering and developing our agriculture.
New type animal drawn implements such as water wheel, walking plows, culti-
vators, etc., were designed and developed after liberation.
"In 1955 the movement to agricultural collectivization reached a high tide.
Chairman Mao pointed out that we should carry out a revolution in technology.
The farm machinery industries of our own country had been set up in a large-
scale. Numbers of factories for manufacturing tractors, engines, combines,
tractor drawn or mounted implements were constructed. The central research
institute of agricultural machinery and then local institutes had been set up
one after another. The pace toward mechanization had been quickened steadily.
"Comparing 1965 with 1956, the number of tractors in use had increased by
7 times and the power in irrigation and drainage 22 times approximately.
Several important inventions such as the rice-transplanter were accomplished
by the specialists and the farmer inventors in a common effort.
"The first and second National Conference on Agricultural Mechanization
were held separately in 1966 and 1971, the Conferences implemented the
principles of carrying out farm mechanization mainly by provinces, autonomous
regions and municipal authorities. The initiative of both central and local
authorities has been brought into play.
"China today has more than 1900 factories making farm machines. In 1978
the total output of tractors reached 113,500 units, walking tractors 320,500
units and engines 274,000 Hp. Also in 1978 the total number of tractors in
use were 467,000, walking tractors 1,370,000 and power units for irrigation
and drainage 65,580,000 Hp.
"China, which formerly did not have its own farm machinery industry, will
by 1980 possess 80 million Hp. of power units for irrigation and drainage and
more than 2 million large, medium, and small sized tractors. On the average
each hectare of cultivated land will have more than one Hp., and each hectare
will use 600 Kg of fertilizer and 600 KWH of electricity.
"China's agricultural mechanization is still developing and will in-
evitably encounter some new conditions and problems. They are mainly;
"l. There are too many models of farm machinery with components and
spare parts not interchangeable which causes great difficulties in
manufacture, operation and maintenance. Quite a few factories are
'large and complete' or 'small and complete' and make practically
everything from components and spare parts to whole machines. As
a result the output is small, the quality poor and cost high.
"2. Many factories are not quite clear about what types of machinery
they should be producing to meet the needs of the market.
"3. In some of the development of the diversified economy and enterprises
run at the commune or brigade level has been slow. On account of
their limited financial resources they cannot afford some of the farm
machinery they need.
"4. Although a great deal of machinery has been shipped to the countryside
the necessary training of skilled workers, maintenance and management
of farm machinery failed to keep pace. The result is that farm
machinery has not been fully utilized. Some communes and brigades
have not attained the goal of increasing production and income.
"2. Characteristics of Chinese Agricultural Mechanization
"In China how to bring about farm mechanization--that is, what to mechan-
ize first and what to mechanize later, and how to increase production and
income more rapidly--is a problem that has been discussed frequently and is
going to be solved step by step. In order to solve this problem, we must
proceed from the local condition.
"Compared with other third world countries China has many similarities.
But China is a socialist country where public ownership in the economy is
dominant. It is also a country with a small amount of cultivated land relative
to population, a weak economic foundation and a vast territory. This is the
point from which China must bring about farm mechanization and is the founda-
tion for formulating our policy. China has a large population with 80% of
it engaged in agriculture, and the land per capital is only a little more than
0.1 hectare. In order to get each hectare to produce the equivalent of
several hectares, we must pay great attention to intensive cultivation and
to develop effective farm machinery. It won't do to blindly seek only a high
degree of mechanization which emphasizes only higher productivity. Of course
this does not mean due emphasis on increasing labor productivity is neglected.
On the contrary, if mechanization is achieved, labor productivity will inevit-
"What will happen to the treat deal of rural labor released as a result
of mechanization? Our principle is to deal with the population problem at its
sources. This means developing the rural enterprises of the commune and
brigade--creating a 'diversified economy'. In our view, this is a way to
produce more wealth for the society as a whole and will help to narrow the
difference between town and countryside, mental and manual labor, and between
industry and agriculture. Ninety percent of the conmunes and 70% of the
production brigades are now running their own industrial enterprises.
"However, even if we succeed in increasing agricultural output to the
level of some of the communes and brigades in Jiangsu province--the grain
production reaches 15 tons per hectare--we still will be unable to meet the
needs of the people and industry. Therefore, farm mechanization must also
expand outward to our grasslands, seas, and mountainous areas. On our
territory of 9,600,000 Km there are more than 300 million hectares of
grassland. About 30% of China is mountainous or hilly. China also has more
than 18,000 Km of coastline. Therefore, there are broad prospects for expand-
ing our country's agriculture. For example, the United States has 130 million
cattle on more than 200 million hectares of grassland; whereas our more than
300 million hectares of grassland have been left mostly undeveloped. However,
we have not paid enough attention to these aspects in the former days. Today,
great efforts are being made to promote the development of these areas.
"Owing to China's weak economic foundation, in the course of agricultural
mechanization we must persist in the principle of 'walking on two legs', which
includes using both indigenous and foreign methods and simultaneously develop-
ing large, medium and small sized models models, and carrying out mechaniza-
tion together with semi-mechanization.
"In order to speed up the pace of mechanization, China will follow a way
of selecting the better machines and technologies from advanced countries
combined with modifying them to suit the local conditions and creating new
types of machines. So we shall introduce advanced technology from abroad,
learn the advanced experience from other countries, and expand cooperation with
"China has vast territory. Apparently, we cannot bring about mechanization
in different places with the same method. For instance, it would be appropriate
for the plains in North China to adopt large-sized tillage equipment; for the
rice field to use the powered tiller and transplanters; for the dryland to
adopt sprinklers and equipment for drilling wells; for the grasslands to develop
the haymaking and different kinds of animal husbandry equipment. As for areas
of plenty water resources in South China, it is more suitable to set up small
"As a whole, irrigation and drainage equipment, processing machines for
agricultural and sideline products and farm transporting equipment are needed
"3. Prospects for the future:
"To modernize our industry, agriculture, science and technology, and
national defence, it is extremely important to make drastic changes in use of
manual labor, which includes reducing the work force of several hundred million
people now engaged in the production of food grain. To achieve farm mechani-
zation comprehensively is essential to realizing farm modernization.
"At the present time, we are carrying out the readjustments in the farm
machinery industry and in the whole area of farm mechanization.
"Through readjustments, the farm machinery industry will be rapidly
switched over to large-scale modernized production. We are now making re-
adjustments in accordance with the principles of unified planning, respect for
diversity, management at different levels and rational distribution. Our
footing is the existing enterprises, which means we must make readjustments
of the nearly 2,000 old factories, fully utilize the existing base, and adhere
to the principle of selecting and developing the best ones. Those enterprises
that prove to be capable of producing what the market needs with good quality,
low cost, and big profit should be ensured of production at full capacity.
In making readjustments, the large-sized tractors and their attachments, hay-
making equipment and grain dryers urgently needed in part of China should be
developed; management and service work relating to farm mechanization should
be improved. Besides, the agricultural engineering education is another key
point in making readjustment as it is important to raising the scientific
researchers ability to meet the needs of developing necessary machines.
"In working toward our objectives we must carefully take into account the
"1. Farm mechanization must be combined with regionalization. In
accordance with the principles of 'taking grain as the key link and ensuring
an all-round development, suiting measures to local conditions, and reasonable
centralization,' we must draw up a good program for the development of agri-
culture, forestry, animal husbandry, fisheries, and good regional plans for
the production of food, grain, and industrial crops so as to gradually go in
for specialized agricultural production. Agricultural districts will be
divided and types of farm machines chosen in accordance with each region's
plan for agricultural development.
"2. Farm mechanization must be combined with the reform of agronomy.
Farm machinery should be adapted to the requirement of agronomy, while agronomy
should also be made to suit the operation of machinery. Only in this way can
we fully raise the efficiency of farm machinery, improve labor productivity,
and increase production and income.
"3. Farm mechanization must be coordinated with the development of a
diversified economy and commune or brigade-run industry. Manpower saved by
mechanization should be transferred to engage in a diversified economy in the
"4. Farm mechanization must be combined with the building up of bases
for marketable grain and industrial crops. Investment in farm machinery
should be allocated in a concentrated way. In the next few years it will be
mainly spent on building up production bases for marketable grain and
industrial crops, animal husbandry, forestry and fisheries as well as non-
staple food production bases on the outskirts of big cities. We must bring
about mechanization area by area in such a way as to enable some regions to
become prosperous earlier than others. (end of quotation)
The statistics presented above on the farm mechanization activities
in China indicate impressive progress and everything I saw there supported
and corroborated the figures we were given and everything we were told. We
visited several tractor factories and two combine plants and it was fairly
easy to estimate annual output of each by timing the output for a short period
at the end of an assembly line. In each instance these estimates checked closely
with production figures given. On several other occasions we inadvertently had
opportunities to check items of information previously given and in every
instance the data or information checked with the later observations.
The many thousands of four wheel and crawler tractors China has pro-
duced did not provide a very dense tractor population in the farm areas we
visited. In the north, horses and mules were by far the most evident power
sources for grain production, while in the south we saw mostly water buffaloes
and humans powering the limited field operations observed during the late
portion of the growing season. In the north I saw only one crawler and two
four-wheel tractors operating in the field and in the south about three or
four two-wheel tractors or power tillers. For transport, trucks that appeared
to be used Army units were seen everywhere, with hauling in the northern areas
supplemented by many two and three-horse teams. In all sections of China, a
multitude of their small diesel two-wheel tractors coupled integrally with two-
wheel trailers were very widely used for all types of hauling.
We visited two factories making grain drills of the same basic design in two
different sizes. The implement factories we saw were characterized by having
a large number of relatively small departments, each usually housed in separate
shop buildings. Machine tools appeared to be in ample supply, not only in the
factories but also in the commune's and state farm's maintenance and repair
shops. The grain drills were of conventional fluted feed design with large
steel wheels such as prevalent in America when I was a youth.
The most significant grain planting developments observed were the
mechanical rice seedling pullers and transplanters developed in southern
China. Early models of these transplanters had been manufactured for several
years but apparently had not been fully satisfactory--at least I saw a number
at a machinery repair station that appeared in dire need of rebuilding.
At the Guangdong Research Institute near Canton two of the latest
design rice transplanters were demonstrated to us. With a driver and two
operators, one unit very successfully planted rice seedlings that had been
pulled with another special machine developed for this purpose. The other unit
likewise performed well in transplanting seedlings that had been lifted "en
masse" out of the special flats in which they had been grown. We also saw
paddies of very uniform and vigorous rice stands that had been transplanted
with these machines about a month earlier.
These machines transplant rice several times as fast as could be done
by hand with the same number of people. However, in addition to this substan-
tial saving of labor, other important advantages are the more uniform stand
secured, the time saving in getting a paddy replanted in multiple cropping
areas and most importantly, the substitution of easy "sit-down" labor for the
extremely arduous "stoop" labor of hand pulling and transplanting rice seed-
lings in the mud. Since only a small diesel engine of about 6 hp is used to
power one of these machines, fuel requirements are minimal.
F~F"h.' .-~ .
rrr~ If ~.i i i!
Grain drill produced at factory near
Rice seedling puller at Guangdong
Rice transplanter at Guangdong Research
n North China.
,. ;. -
.,- .. A
Self-propelled combine produced at fac-
tory near Jiamusi.
Very early combines at Friendship
We had earlier visited a relatively small factory operated by Shanghai
County that was just finishing a production run of the earlier model "Shanghai
#1" transplanters. They were preparing to start production of the new improved
#2-Z model which I presume would incorporate the improvements developed at
Guangdong. Again, I was surprised at the extensive array of machine tools in
this small plant, even including precision gear cutting machines. This plant
also made parts for two wheel tractors and did major overhaul and repair work
on them. During the busy season they would send repair teams to the field as
well as keeping a staff at the plant to handle emergency breakdowns.
This small factory had 614 employees and began producing transplanters
in 1973, having produced a total of 9378 units by the end of 1978. In the
standardized final design 2-Z model they had collaborated with three other
factories and the research institute. They indicated that in the future the
new model will be produced in seven different factories in Southern China.
We were told by the plant manager that this machine could transplant
one hectare of rice in seven hours with its crew of three people. In compari-
son, he said it takes about 150 person-hours per hectare to transplant by hand.
The new model will sell for about 2000 Yuan (approx. $1,666 U.S.). The final
performance claim made for the transplanting machine was that it would increase
the yield by 10 to 20% because of the more uniform stand secured.
We also visited two plants manufacturing threshers and grain combine
harvesters. The first was in Northern China at Jiamusi where the production
reported was 1000 threshing machines and 500 self-propelled combines. We did
not see the threshers which were reported to have a threshing and separating
width of 110 cm. (44 inches).
The design of their combine was perhaps more modern by our standards
than any farm machine we saw manufactured in China. It had a 90 cm. (36") wide
header and weighed 5400 kg. empty. It was a relatively new model, having been
in production three years with over 1000 produced. Their plan for 1980 is to
produce between 700 and 800 combines. This plant was extremely well equipped
and the general appearance of the combine was quite good. One special feature
was that the concave bars were made like narrow rasp bars, indicating that some
of their grain varieties might be fairly difficult to thresh out of the heads.
Near Canton, we visited another plant that made two models of tractor
mounted combines, as well as several other tractor drawn implements. The design
of these combines appeared to be entirely of Chinese origin and incorporated
several features that differed widely from the combines we saw made at Jiamusi.
The plant, however, was not nearly as modern as most of the others we
observed and this was also.the case with their manufacturing methods. Tooling
was also quite limited, but they did have a few modern special gear cutting
machines. In this plant they also made a very heavy brush plow, indicating
that China is still breaking up virgin lands for more grain production.
Similar to our experience with the many four-wheel and crawler tractors
produced, we did not see a single large threshing machine or a self-propelled
combine in use during our extensive China travels, some of which was during the
harvest season in some areas. Apparently these new machines are just swallowed
up in the vastness of China's west-central and northern areas where the large
fields are found.
Professor Zeng De Chao with cylinder type
type thresher at Xin Qiao Peoples Commune.
Electric fan for winnowing grain.
Typical wood fanning mill for grain
rice being dried on outdoor floor.
(Heavy rain arrived 15 minutes later).
Dr. Wayne Kroutil helping sweep up
rice being dried on outdoor floor.
(Heavy rain arrived 15 minutes later).
What we did see were hundreds of threshing floors near the farm
commune buildings as we traveled by train and bus. Dr. Wayne Kroutil and I
took off in a taxi one noon and visited one of these installations on a small
commune farm near Hangchow and we were shown another on the large farm of the
Xin Qiao People's Commune in Sangjiang County. In each case the rice was
threshed with a simple electric-powered cylinder thresher having a feed
opening near the drive end. On the large commune unit a coarse screen below
the lower forward third of the cylinder provided some grain separation. This
feature was not present on the smaller thresher which merely discharged the
mixture of threshed grain and straw through another opening in the large end
of the slightly conical cylinder housing. Further separation was done by hand
and cleaning was assisted by wooden fanning mills that contained a fan only
but no cleaning sieves. The presence of large flat winnowing baskets indicated
that much hand winnowing was also done, assisted on the latter farm by a large,
portable electric fan on about a four-foot high stand. The only mechanical
threshers we saw standing on any of these many threshing floors were these
simple cylinder units.
In Northern China we saw many tall, pointed stacks of grain bundles
and on one occasion saw bundles being hauled in from the fields. On the very
large Friendship State Farm (one-half million acres total area) that we visited
in the far northern area of China, they had recently acquired a complete multiple
unit set of the most modern large grain production and harvesting machines from
the USA (John Deere). Comprehensive time and cost records were being kept by
the brigade operating these machines to guide China in future mechanization
However, when we visited the headquarters area of this farm, the grain
harvesting machines we saw were only a couple of earlier model combines of the
size we saw made at Jiamusi, plus three very old pull-type combines very similar
to the earliest combines first made in the far west of the United States over a
half century ago. Amazingly, these machines were still in operating condition
and each of them appeared to have been used within the past few weeks during
their wheat harvest.
All of this indicates that China does indeed have a long way to go to
appropriately mechanize her grain production. However, on this trip we also
learned that the Chinese are a very hard working, capable, intelligent, dedi-
cated and pragmatic people. They are effectively organized under an efficient
system that I would term as "collective enterprise" and which has enabled them
to make remarkable progress in the past quarter century. They are also doing
a good job of educating all their young people and I am confident that they
will successfully continue to make excellent progress in their efforts and
plans to mechanize and reduce labor requirements for their future grain
Research Institutions and Facilities . ... pgs. 60-67
John E. Dixon
Research Institutes . . . ... pgs. 68-74
James H. Taylor
Chinese Irrigation Systems and Techniques .... .pgs. 75-81
Wayne F. Kroutil
The State of Agricultural Engineering Systems
Modeling and Analysis in China . ... pgs. 82-84
Walter K. Bilanski
RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS AND FACILITIES
J. E. DIXON
Agricultural Engineering Department
University of Idaho
The principal thrust of agricultural mechanization research in
the People's Republic of China is organized and operated through the
Ministry of Agricultural Machinery. The Chinese Academy of Agricul-
tural Machinery Sciences (CAAMS) has been established to carry out
much of this function. The main tasks of the Academy are: (1) as-
sist in drawing up the agricultural machinery research program, (2)
conduct agricultural machinery research and development, (3) test
agricultural machinery materials, components and whole units, (4)
conduct manufacturing technology research and development for agri-
cultural machinery, (5) formulate national and Ministry standards
for agricultural machinery, and 6) gather and exchange research in-
formation involving agricultural machinery.
The Academy, which is located in Peking, is made up of two in-
stitutes, The Farm Implement Research Institute and the Materials
and Technology Research Institute, and the following nine divisions:
(1) Livestock and Poultry Equipment Research, (2) Irrigation and
Drainage Equipment Research, (3) Hydraulic Technique Research, (4)
Power Unit Testing, (5) Strength Research, (6) Measuring Technique
and Instrumentation Research, (7) Farm Machinery Information Research,
(8) Experimental Shop, and (9) Farm Machinery Experiment Station.
In addition to the Academy, the Ministry of Agricultural Machinery
also operates a Tractor Research Institute at Luoyang. Although this
Institute is currently independent of the Academy, there is talk of
attaching it to the Academy as a third Research Institute. In ad-
dition to other research functions the Tractor Research Institute
tests tractors and has recently constructed a test facility similar
to that at Nebraska. This facility was not yet operational when
visited by the ASAE team.
Agricultural Mechanization research is also conducted at the
provincial level. Almost every province has an agricultural
mechanization research Institute. Some "municipalities" autonomouss
city districts) also have them. Research is also conducted by fac-
tories and communes to meet their specific needs.
Research efforts directed toward agricultural engineering of a
non-mechanization nature are administered through the Ministry of Ag-
riculture. The Ministry of Agriculture would administer research in-
volving animal housing, waste management, crop irrigation, drainage,
food engineering, food and feed storage, etc. If mechanization equip-
ment is involved, however, it is administered by the Ministry of Ag-
ricultural Machinery; for example, feed conveying equipment, pumping
equipment, food and feed milling equipment. The Ministry of Agricul-
ture has an Agricultural Engineering Research Institute in Peking.
There is nothing at the province level. Academy status is being con-
sidered for the Institute.
Another approach to Agricultural Mechanization research is carried
on by teaching institutions. These institutions provide three channels
of research results: regular university students, post graduate stu-
dents, and faculty research groups. Almost all regular university stu-
dents are required to prepare a thesis. These theses provide ana-
lytical and developmental research results. More sophisticated re-
search results are provided by post graduate students who must complete
two years of post graduate course work before being admitted to a two
year research and thesis program. The faculty are divided into teach-
ing and research groups within each department. For example, at Jilin
University of Technology, the Agricultural Machinery Engineering De-
partment, has an Agricultural machinery group, a tillage machinery
group, a tractor group, a machine design group and a Mechanical draw-
ing group. The professors in the group may be assigned different por-
tions of their time for teaching and research. An approximate average
proportion is 80% teaching and 20% research. Individually this varies.
Some are assigned 100% teaching and others 100% research. One of the
professors accompanying the ASAE team had been assigned 80% research
and 20% teaching.
Research for the teaching faculty is selected from planning lists
provided by the central government. Similar lists are also provided
by the provincial government. A research program conducted by the
University from one of the lists is financed by the governmental unit
listing that program. Although the research program lists are pre-
pared by the governmental units, the unviersity research groups can
suggest research programs for the lists. Some examples of faculty
conducted research project titles are: Development and testing of a
series of pump models for sprinkler irrigation, Dynamics of soil-
machine systems, Technology of nodular cast iron crankshafts, Minimum
tillage machine development, and Experimental greenhouse and apparatus
for rice seedlings suitable for the power transplanter.
Research Institution Visits
The ASAE team visited five research institutions and three teach-
ing institutions. On some days the team was divided into two groups
with each group making a different visit. The five research institu-
tions were: (1) The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Machinery Sciences
in Peking, (2) The Tractor Research Institute at Luoang, (3) The
Shanghai Research Institute of Farm Machinery, (4) The Shanghai Re-
search Institute of Internal Combustion Engines, and (5) Guangdong
Research Institute at Canton. The three teaching institutions were:
(1) The Jilin University of Technology at Changchun. (2) Zhenjiang
Agricultural Machinery College and (3) The South China Agricultural
College at Canton. All of these institutions except the Luoyang Trac-
tor Research Institute and the Shanghai Internal Combustion Institute
will be discussed here.
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Machinery Sciences
The Academy, which is also headquarters for the Chinese Society
of Agricultural Machinery, has facilities for each of the institutes
and divisions mentioned above. The ASAE team visited the pump test-
ing, seeding, threshing, hydraulic (power), engine testing, materials
testing, and strength testing laboratories. Each of the laboratory
buildings were the same design and about 12 meters wide and 36 meters
long. Almost all of the laboratories listed had an individual build-
ing for their work. Some of the equipment observed by the team is
listed below. Additional pieces of equipment were no doubt available
but were not observed because of the time limitation. (Less than
three hours was available for each institutional visit).
Laboratory Observed Equipment
Pump testing 3 pump testing tanks and stands, sub-
mersible, turbines, power and torque
70 meter head testing tank
cavitation study equipment
Seeding sand table for testing graindrill
Threshing straw catching conveyor for measuring
threshed grain losses
Hydraulic (power) hydraulic vibration testing equipment
pump speed testing equipment
power steering testing equipment
Engine testing dynamometer with control room
transducers and indicators for engine
Materials testing equipment for testing wear of
Strength testing force application frames with
fatigue testing equipment
a testing unit capable of applying
and measuring six different forces
Shanghai Institute of Agricultural Machinery
The Shanghai Institute is an example of a municipality sponsored
research institution. The institute was established in 1959. It cur-
rently employs 270 people of which 90 are technical personnel. The
only research facility observed was a machine shop. This shop was
set up similar to manufacturing plant machine shops the team had seen
earlier. The Institute had a large show room area where machines they
had developed were displayed. Some of the machines the team observed
were: several 6 and 7 bottom tractor mounted plows, a furrow opener,
a rice transplanter, a rice seedling plant puller, a power operated
tea picker, a hand operated tea picker, a dredge pump (for dredging
irrigation canals and farm ponds) and several implements for use with
the commonly used power tillers. We were also told the Institute had
developed a combine, a swather. and poultry mechanization equipment in-
cluding feeding equipment, watering devices, and manure scrapers.
Guangdong Research Institute of Agricultural Machinery
The Guangdong Research Institute is an example of a provincial
sponsored institute. The Institute employs 200 people of which 17
are engineers, 104 University graduates and 125 technicians. Most of
their research is directed to paddy field equipment development and
rice drying. They have also done work with sugar cane equipment, for-
age equipment, and rice processing. Research equipment observed by
the team included: a tractor and instrument van fitted with instru-
ments for draft, traction and speed measurements, gear drive durabil-
ity test unit (e.g. power tiller gear box), spark ignition testing
unit, a dynamic balancing machine, three dynamometers with range of
20 to 400 horsepower, sound measuring equipment, oil and fuel pump
testing equipment, and fuel consumption measuring equipment.
The institute displayed and demonstrated some of the equipment
they had developed. They had available eight or more field plots for
testing their equipment. The paddy plots were about 30 meters by 100
meters (similar in area to many paddy fields). Equipment demonstrated
at these plots included a rice nursery plant-puller, a rice plant trans-
planter using bare rooted plants, a rice-plant transplanter using non-
bare rooted plants, and a direct seeding paddy planter. Other equip-
ment demonstrated or displayed included: a half-track drive for a
tractor, a tractor fitted with crawler tracks and conventional rubber
tired wheels, and three different designs of paddy threshing machines.
Jilin University of Technology
Jilin University of Technology was founded in 1955 by pooling
several departments of three other universities. The University has
graduated about 14,000 students of which 1300 were night school grad-
uates. The enrollment capacity is 4700 with 3700 currently enrolled.
The campus covers 660,000 square meters with 180,000 square meters of
floor space. There are 24 laboratories including physics, chemistry,
electronics, precision measurement, agricultural machinery,tractor,
internal combustion engine, metal cutting, etc. The University also
operates a combine factory. Before graduation, each student is ex-
pected to spend three months working in the factory or elsewhere for
Much of the equipment and many of the laboratories were dedicated
to teaching. Some were suitable for research and teaching activities.
The ASAE team visited the following laboratories: tractor testing,
field equipment testing, tillage equipment, instrumentation, planting
equipment, internal combustion engine testing and sound measuring.
Equipment found in these laboratories included: several 4-wheel, 2-
wheel and crawler-type tractors, numerous cut-away models of machinery,
soil shear measuring equipment, a tractor fitted with draft, speed,
and traction measuring instruments, a soil bin with power car speeds
ranging from 0-13 kph (a second bin is under construction), a machine
for applying forces to and measuring stresses upon plows (designed and
built by students and faculty), a grease board test stand to test
planter performance, several test stands for testing durability of
chain drives, 15 dynamometer type test stands, sound measuring equip-
ment, and fuel consumption measuring equipment.
Zhenjiang Agricultural Machinery College
The college was established in 1960. Construction was completed
in 1964, but the college was closed in 1966 due to the cultural revo-
lution. The college has four departments: Agricultural Machinery
Engineering, Tractor Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, and Elec-
tric Motor Engineering. The enrollment is about 1500.
Most of the laboratories visited by the team were dedicated to
teaching applications. They included the metalography, specimen
preparation, microphotography, spectrographic, precise measurement,
finish evaluation, material mechanics, photo elasticity, computer,
agricultural machinery, automobile, internal combustion engine, fuel
injection system, dynamometer, and sprinkler irrigation laboratory.
Some of the equipment observed in these laboratories included micro-
scopes, ground flat surface and micrometers, a shadowgraph, a gear
size evaluator, compression testing machines, a photo elasticity unit,
a computer, combines and threshers, various tillage equipment, 2-wheel
and 4-wheel tractors, a test bed for implement evaluation. (A rice
seedling transplanter was demonstrated), an optical instrument to
trace the pattern of a moldboard plow, tillage draft measuring equip-
ment with magnetic tape recorder, full scale automotive dynamometer,
a 100 kilowatt engine dynamometer, and a sprinkler irrigation testing
yard about 30 meters square.
South China Agricultural College
The college is very close to the Guangdong Research Institute.
Both institutions indicated this promotes extensive cooperation be-
tween the two institutions. The cooperation was apparent.
The college was formed by combining faculty from three local
universities including some from an adjacent province. The college
has eight departments: Agricultural Engineering, Agronomy, Agricul-
ture, Silvaculture and Forestry, Soils, Plant Protection, Entomology,
and Plant Pathology. The enrollment is about 2000 students including
400 agricultural engineering students and 65 graduate students. There
are about 700 faculty in the college with 320 involved with instruc-
tion. The remainder are assisting staff.
The only laboratories observed by the team were two mechanical
rice seedling factory laboratories and field plot laboratories. At
each of these laboratories the staff demonstrated paddy mechanization
equipment. The seedling factories produced nursery paddy plants in
10 to 12 days. One factory laboratory was completely mechanized and
planted, watered, disease and insect treated, and fertilized rice
plants grown on soil-less concrete slabs about one meter wide. The
factory had two double rows of slabs eight slabs high. At harvest
the matt of rice plants was cut to the appropriate size for a mech-
anized rice transplanter. The second factory operation involved
machine assisted hand labor. This system was said to be more prac-
tical for present day commune use.
Equipment demonstrated in the field plots included a "boat trac-
tor" plowing a paddy field and a mechanical rice seedling transplanter.
Three computers were observed by team members; one at the Academy
in Peking, one at Zhenjiang Agricultural Machinery College, and one
at the Shanghai Industrial Exhibition. The first two were in use.
All three were basically the same design and manufactured in China.
The central processing unit had a capacity of about 32 K. Input to
the computer was possible by paper tape, typewriter, CRT, and mag-
netic tape. Cards were not an input method. Magnetic tape units
were seen but no disk storage was observed. Output could be obtained
through the input devices or a line printer. The language was BASIC.
This team member is in no position to draw conclusions due to the
short time interval of the visits and tour. A few impressions may be
in order, however. Building space for research seemed adequate as did
availability of equipment to carry out a specific task. Much of the
research equipment was manufactured in China with imports from Sweden,
Germany and the U. S. among others. More equipment was imported from
Russia and Japan than other countries. The use and availability of
computers is quite limited. Computer technology is in its infancy.
This is true for the manufacture of hardware and for software appli-
cation. All institutions visited were interested in computers and
want to be involved as the technology developed.
The gear drive durability test unit at
the Guangdong Research Institute of
Agricultural Machinery testing the gear
drive of a power tiller.
A professor at Jilin University of
Technology explains the operation of a
chain drive test stand to members of the
Howard Thompson watches a Shanghai
Institute of Agricultural Machinery
staff member demonstrate a hand oper-
ated tea picker developed by their
A CAAMS Agricultural Engineer discusses
details of one of the planter metering
wheels that has been tested on their
sand table with Dr. Zoerb.
A precision seeder under test on a A professor at Zhenjiang Agricultural
grease board at Jilin University of College demonstrates the gear size
Technology, evaluator to ASAE President Al Best.
The boat tractor developed by South
China Agricultural College plowing a
paddy field during a demonstration for
the ASAE team.
" ..., ., "!. ., j -
" ..d,'i ''- :..F; "
Computer facilities at Zhenjiang
-1-. ..~-: ;-- .
James H. Taylor, PE
Research Leader Traction
National Tillage Machinery Laboratory
The current approach to life in the People's Republic of
China appears to be geared to modernization with emphasis on
agriculture. Material incentives are being offered, and produc-
tion has moved out front as a goal of the current leadership.
National Organization of Research
The author was unable to obtain any kind of organiza-
tional chart of the research institutes. All educational and
research activities appear to be in an era of rapid change at
this time. The following outline was constructed from many per-
We were guests of the Chinese Society of Agricultural
Machinery. This Society works closely with one ministry of the
government and the following remarks generally deal only with
The Ministry of Agricultural Machinery (one of several
food production related ministries under Vice-Premier Wang Ren
Zhong) appears to have three distinctly different types of
research facilities: (A) The Chinese Academy of Agricultural
Machinery Sciences (CAAMS), located in Beijing; (B) The National
Research Institutes (for tractors, located in Luoyang--for inter-
nal combustion engines, located in Shanghai--possibly other
national institutes); and (C) Provincial Research Institutes in
most of the 30 provinces or autonomous areas. We were told that
the Ministry of Agriculture and probably several other ministries
have similar research organizations.
The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Machinery (CAAMS):
The CAAMS is a comprehensive scientific research organi-
zation for agricultural machinery. They assist in the planning
of the State program of scientific research; they do research and
development plus testing of the parts, assemblies and complete
machines. They do research on manufacturing technology and on
materials. They formulate industry and national standards for
agricultural machinery. They search the literature, maintain a
library, and publish three nationwide periodicals.
The CAAMS has 950 employees; about half of these are
engineers or technicians. They are located on a 28-hectare cam-
pus. They are presently organized into eleven institutes or sub-
divisions to carry out their work: (1) Farm Implement Research
Institute; (2) Material and Technology Research Institute; (3)
Livestock and Poultry Equipment Research Division; (4) Irrigation
and Drainage Equipment Research Division; (5) Hydraulic Technique
Research Division; (6) Power Unit Testing Division; (7) Strength
Research Division; (8) Measuring Technique and Instrumentation
Research Division; (9) Farm Machinery Information Research
Division; (10) Experimental Shop; and (11) Farm Machinery
The National Research Institutes:
The National Research Institute for Tractors is located
in Luoyang. It was started in 1968, and, as the name implies, is
responsible for research on tractors for all parts of China.
They have a soil bin and test track. They have 600 people,
including 300 engineers and technicians. The work is in three
divisions: (1) Testing; (2) Development of tractors; and (3)
Development of engines. They do some development work here, but
some engineering work is left for the factories to do.
There are many tractor factories in the provinces and
most provinces produce tractors, especially small tractors, only
for their province. Transportation and commerce between prov-
inces is limited. This increases the need for and importance
of a national research institute for tractors.
The National Research Institute for Internal Combustion
Engines is located in Shanghai. This Institute was begun in
1958. They have 700 people, including 310 technicians and engi-
neers. They have a library of some 2600 volumes plus 52 periodi-
cals, and they have an accoustical lab. They have three task
groups or divisions: (1) Collection of information on foreign
developments; (2) Technical exchange with foreign countries; and
(3) Service to their customers (the factories). They appear to
have concentrated their efforts on small- to medium-size, high-
speed diesel engines.
The Provincial Research Institutes:
Each province (or municipal area) has a research insti-
tute for agricultural machinery. They concentrate on machinery
for the specific conditions of their province. They can obtain
general assistance and guidance from the CAAMS and they usually
do research on machinery not covered by a national institute.
We visited two of these institutes: The Shanghai
Municipal Research Institute for Agricultural Machinery, and The
Guangdong Provincial Research Institute for Agricultural
The Shanghai Municipal Research Institute for
Agricultural Machinery was set up in 1959. They have 270 workers
including 90 technicians and engineers. They are divided into
four departments and a factory. They told us they were doing
research on rice equipment--transplanters and seedling pullers;
tillage equipment--plows, rotary tillers, and furrow openers;
harvesting equipment--combines, swathers, hand and power tea
harvesters; and equipment for poultry production.
The tour of their facilities consisted primarily of a
display room of what appeared to be production models of the
above equipment. There was evidence of many years of past research
in the equipment on display.
The Guangdong Provincial Research Institute for
Agricultural Machinery is in South China. The capitol of this
province is Guangzhou, better known in the West as Canton. We
were briefed by the director, Mr. Yue, and greeted in English by
Professor David Hoh, who attended Iowa State College in 1945.
This Institute was built in 1958 and grew to a staff of
300 members with several labs and shops plus farms for equipment
testing. In 1968 it was destroyed by the Gang of Four; the land
was taken away and the faculty scattered to the countryside.
In 1971 they began to recover land and are now about 1/3 of their
past size. They have 200 staff members, including 20 engineers
and one agronomist, and appear to be rapidly rebuilding a fine
They emphasize rice equipment here--transplanting, har-
vesting, and drying. Recently they have started work for sugar
cane--land preparation, weed control, and harvesting. A little
work has begun on forage processing equipment and on feed mills,
etc., for livestock production.
They showed prototype and production models of the rice
equipment. They demonstrated in their paddys a seedling puller,
a transplanter for the pulled seedlings, a transplanter for
block-grown seedlings, and a direct seeding machine for rice.
They have investigated several ideas for traction and
flotation in rice paddys. They have some polders in the province
with no hard pans that are a great challenge for the traction
researchers. We were shown some of their prototypes for the soft
soil: Rubber tracks, steel tracks, half tracks, rubber tires,
steel tires, combinations of tires and tracks, and a boat trac-
One of their combines is mounted on a 75 hp crawler
tractor which is manufactured in the province. The State farms
use this, but the Institute has also designed a 2-wheel and a 4-
wheel small combine which is used on some communes. In this
province, 60-70% of the rice is still cut with a sickle and har-
vested with a foot-pedalled thresher.
The Institute works closely with the South China
Agricultural College (SCAC) which is under the Ministry of
Agriculture, but located only one mile away. They are
cooperating on rice transplanting, and SCAC is experimenting with
methods of growing seedlings for ease of handling by trans-
planters. This cooperation plus the presence of an agronomist on
the staff of the Institute was very encouraging.
Other Areas of Research
There were two other places in addition to the above
where we found research in progress on agricultural machinery and
practices: The agricultural machinery colleges and the State
farms or large communes.
Agricultural Machinery Colleges:
This category includes colleges or universities under
the direction of the Ministry of Agricultural Machinery. We
visited two of these.
Jilian University of Technology in Changchun was founded
in 1955, has 3200 students in 6 departments with 18 specialties.
There are seven universities with Agricultural Engineering
Departments, and Jilian has the largest department with 500 stu-
dents. They have a variety of research in progress here
including tillage, soil mechanics, and terramechanics. They have
soil bins which are equipped and used for research purposes.
Zhenjiang Agricultural Machinery College was constructed
in 1960-64. It was just getting started when destroyed by the
Cultural Revolution. It was only restarted in 1977 and has much
work to do to get back in business. However, they are working
hard and, in addition to their teaching program, they are getting
some research facilities prepared. They have started a computer
laboratory here and they also have soil bin facilities. They
operate a factory in conjunction with their teaching program.
The students must work for some time in the factory.
Research on Communes and State Farms:
At the Yu Yuan Tan People's Commune near Beijing, they
told us they received help from the universities and research
institutes but they also do research. Many of the communes have
several graduate engineers plus other agricultural scientists on
their staff. This commune has excellent greenhouse facilities
and they are doing research on developing better varieties of
At the Xin Qiao People's Commune in Sangjiang, southwest
of Shanghai, they have a pig strain breeding station. Every bri-
gade on this commune has a pig farm and they sell lots of pork to
the Shanghai market.
The State farms are much larger than the communes and,
backed by government funds, they can undertake projects of much
wider scope. State farms are normally set up where capital
investment is required for a few years before returns can be
On Hainan Island in southeast China, a rubber plantation
has been established. It was organized as a State farm because
of the high initial investment and the period of time required
before any income could be expected.
In Heilongjiang Province in northeast China, we visited
the huge Friendship Farm. They have over 200,000 hectares.
including 90,000 hectares of farmland. The population of the
farm is 120,000. They operate a paper mill, a wine factory, and
This farm was reclaimed from marshlands and is now very
productive. One brigade here is equipped with one million
dollars worth of the very latest farm equipment produced by a
United States manufacturer.
This is part of a national plan of very practical
research in farm production systems. They will determine the
suitability of the United States farm machinery for Chinese con-
ditions in this area. They will modify and adapt the equipment
for their own needs.
The only institute or college we visited not under the
Ministry of Agricultural Machinery was the South China
Agricultural College. It was under the Ministry of Agriculture.
Also, all teaching colleges or universities are under the dual
supervision of their sponsoring ministry plus the Ministry of
Education. In addition, any research work at institutes or
colleges comes under the further supervision of the Commission of
Science and Technology, which is equivalent to a ministry.
The PRC leadership and scientists seem to be working
hard toward building an effective research program. The organi-
zation appears adequate; the people are well trained in most
cases, and the motivation is high.
The philosophy of the PRC is to use anything already
developed by other countries, evaluating and modifying it to meet
the specific needs of the country. They will spend their time
developing machinery they cannot find elsewhere.
The separation of agricultural engineering from the
biological sciences is cause for concern in both teaching colle-
ges and research institutes. However, the cooperation we saw
between the Agricultural Machinery Research Institute and the
Agricultural College in Guangdong Province is ample proof that
cooperation can produce effective results.
The PRC is committed to mechanization of agriculture.
It plans to use the released farm labor to produce consumer goods
in factories located on the communes and in rural areas. If
national priorities remain stable, the PRC will probably be
undergoing rapid change in the next two decades.
Delegation was welcomed by beautiful Soil bin at National Academy of Agri-
color chalk signs at most factories cultural Machinery, Beijing.
and institutions. At left is Jim
Taylor; at right is Walt Bilanski.
Soi bin wor at Zhningrclua
Soil bin work at Zhenjiang Agricultural
Machinery College (T-7/S-9)
New model of rice transplanter at
factory near Shanghai (T-8/S-12)
Rice seedling puller at Guangdon Agri-
cultural Institute (T-9/S-25)
Transplanting rice at South China
Agricultural College (T-9/S-56)
CHINESE IRRIGATION SYSTEMS
Dr. W. F. Kroutil
Agricultural Engineering Department
University of Nebraska
For many centuries, China has been irrigating agricultural land to feed
its people. Their problems with irrigation agriculture have been generally the
same as for people in all other parts of the world except they have many rivers
that flood regularly. With all of their problems, they successfully irrigate
the most land 44,000,000 hectares which is 2 times what India irrigates and
about 4 times the acreage irrigated in the United States. There is much irrigated
land and a diversity of techniques in China. Unfortunately, there is not
enough co-ordination at the present time between water resource developers,
irrigation engineers, agronomists and soil physicists, and the farmer to make
the most effective use of water in agricultural production.
The major factors making extensive irrigation possible are the rivers,
soil, climate, terrain and people.
Geography for Irrigation
China has a large number of rivers. More than 1,500 of them have drainage
basins of over 1,000 square kilometers each. Most of the rivers have outlets
to the sea and so belong to the exterior river system; others empty into the
inland lakes or disappear inland.
China's rivers empty into the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, or the Artic
Ocean. The major rivers The Yangtze, the Yellow, the Heilung, the Pearl,
and Haiho flow from west to east and empty into the Pacific.
China's exterior river system is divided into two groups along a line
formed by the Chinling Mountains and the Huai River. The rivers to the north
of this line have a heavy summer flow and quite small flows in winter. They
freeze over in winter, some for long periods, and so stop navigation. Most of
these rivers carry large amounts of silt. Consequently, the lower courses
often fill up, some to such an extent that the channels rise above the level
of the surrounding land. They also undergo frequent shifts of course which
Rivers south the Chinling-Huai divide carry a relatively constant heavy
volume of water regardless of seasonal changes. They never freeze, and are
navigable all year round. Because the areas they drain are rich in vegetation,
these rivers carry little sediment.
To complement China's natural river system, the Chinese working people
have dug many canals. The Grand Canal dug in ancient times stretches more than
1,700 kilometers southwards from Peking to Hangchow. Other examples are the
network of canals in the Yangtze Delta; the Red Flag Canal (in Linhsien County,
Honan Province) and the many other irrigation canals built and drainage canals
dug since 1949, which provide additional outlets for the Huai and Haiho river
The country's water resources are being utilized and they have built more
than 70,000 reservoirs of different sizes with a combined storage capacity of
300,000 million cubic meters. Two-thirds of the farm land prone to water-
logging have been dealt with, half the saline-alkali land improved, and one-
fifth of the hillside fields terraced. With nearly half the cultivated acreage
put under irrigation, China's present irrigated acreage has tripled since 1950.
China has a climate dominated by the monsoonal winds rising out of the
differences in the heat-absorbing capacity of the continent and the ocean. Its
complex topography and the vast extent of its territory add to the variety of
climatic types and makes its climate conducive to the development of agriculture.
In winter, the north is ice-bound and covered with snow. January means the
temperature is below zero centigrade, while in the northernmost part of
Heilungkiang Province it drops as low as -300 C. In the south, mainly because
of the relatively low latitudes and the fact that the cold air from the north-
west gradually becomes warmer as it moves southwards and that the mountain
ranges running in an east-west direction obstruct the cold air to a certain
extent, the central and southern parts of Kwangtung and Kwangsi and south-
eastern Fukien have an average winter temperature above 100 C. Luxuriant
vegetation thrives all year round both in the plains and the mountains. Palm
trees grow in abundance on Hainan Island and the South China Seas islands as
well as in the costal areas of Kwangtung and Kwangsi where the average temper-
ature reaches 150 C. or more.
In summer, due to the southerly winds and longer hours of sunshine, the
north-south difference in temperature is less and the temperature for the
country as a whole is relatively high. For instance, in the south the July
mean temperature is about 280 C., while in a large part of Heilungjiang
Province in the north it also exceeds 200 C.
The annual rainfall in northwest China is the lowest in the country, while
in the deserts there is no rain the year round. Farmland there is irrigated
mainly by rain water, melting snow from the massive mountains, and subterranean
The annual rainfall increases gradually from the northwest towards the
east, the south and the southeast. The northeast has an annual precipitation
between 400 and 1,000 mm. In the Yellow River valley it ranges from 600 to
800 mm. South of the Yangtze and on the Yunnan-Kweichow Plateau it is about
1,000 mm. In many places along the southeastern coast, it exceeds 2,000 mm.
Resources from Varied Climate
China's continental climate makes for hot summers over the greater part
of the country, and is suitable for long season, high-yield crops such as grain
When water is provided, the high temperature and abundant sunlight of
China's dry northwestern regions produce abundant plant growth. These factors
contribute to the excellent yields and good quality of their grain and cotton.
With high sugar content, their fruits, such as Skiniang's melons from Hani and
seedless graps from Turfan are famous for their taste.
China's varied climate gives it a wealth of plant life. Its climate
enables it to grow not only cotton, soyabeans, peanuts, rapeseed, sugar beet
and sugar cane, but also tropical industrial crops like rubber, coffee, cacao,
sisal, black pepper and oil palms, to satisfy a wide range of needs.
Meteorology in China has made marked progress and a nationwide meteorolog-
ical network has taken shape. In consists of the Central Meteorological Obser-
vatory in Peking, and weather observatories and stations at the provinces and
counties as well as the numerous weather observation posts and teams in the
rural areas. By 1977, more than 2,500 weather observatories and stations and
16,000 weather observation posts had been set up in the country. Figure 1
is typical of the local posts and obtains radiation, rainfall, temperature and
Weather research is being carried out at many levels: by the Chinese
Academy of Science, the Central Meteorological Bureau, and by the Province
China's varied patterns of climate, rock formation, topography and vege-
tation have produced many kinds of soil. Travelling from the southeast
towards the northwest one passes through regions of forest soils (including
red earth and brown forest soil), forest-steppe soils (including black earth
and cinnamon soil), steppe soils (including chernozem and chesnut soils),
desert soils, semi-desert soil, and so on.
Saline-alkali soil. This problem soil is found extensively in low-lying
areas such as the coastal plains, and the plains, basins and valleys of arid
and semi-arid inland regions. Because the goundwater table is high and there
is great evaporation of surface water, soluble salts are deposited in the top-
soil, making the land unsuitable for growing crops. With soil amelioration,
however, such land can be high-yield fields.
Soil Amelioration and Utilization
Programs for investigation and control centering around water and soil
conservation have been developed to prevent the serious erosion of the
cinnamon and chestnut soils in the middle reaches of the Yellow River. Now,
with 12 million mu (2,000,000 acres) of fields terraced and 30 million mu
planted to trees and grass, water loss and soil erosion in the area drained
by the Yellow River and elsewhere are being gradually brought under control.
Work on reclaiming saline-alkali soil has made progress in recent years
through control of water. On the plains of the Yellow, Huai and Haiho rivers,
which account for over 70 percent of the total saline-alkali soil area, the
digging of new canals and the dredging and widening of old river courses have
raised the capacity for drainage and flood release. The groundwater table has
been lowered and, coupled with the building of "raised fields" (Figure 2) and
"strip fields", the acreage of saline-alkali fields has been gradually cut
down. Half the saline-alkali land that existed before 1970 in the more ser-
iously affected Hopei, Shantung and Anhwei provinces has been ameliorated.
Land has been brought under cultivation by launching water conservancy
projects and planting windbreaks and shelter belts.
Until 1970, the major part of the irrigation water was lifted by man or
animal powered machinery. Traditional water raising machines include the well
sweep, Papernoster pump, the Archimedes screw, the Noria, and buckets. The
Chinese have used a 555 "Liberation" water wheel whereby 1 man lifted about 2
liters/sec. Along the Yangtze River, in the early 60's, one third of the
manpower was used for pedaling water wheels. A combination water wheel (drive)
and low speed turbine pump was developed in the 60's. In the mid 60's electri-
cally powered pumps were beginning to be utilized. At the same time, many
electrical generating plants were being installed so there was a surplus.
Large electric pumps capable of moving 6 and 7 tons of water per second were
developed. Presently, a large range of electric pumps is available to meet
any pumping requirements.
Irrigation development and high crop yields are goals in China. Forty five
percent of the total cultivated land or 44 million hectares are irrigated.
Irrigation and irrigation systems are very visible. One statistic that we
received is that irrigation is now 98% mechanized. The more accurate descrip-
tion is that irrigation pumping is 98% mechanized. The distribution systems
are essentially all open ditch. Many fields are flood irrigated. Vegetables
are often grown on small islands perhaps 5 feet wide (Figure 2). A pressure
sprinkler head is manufactured in Shanghai (Figure 3) and solid set systems are
using these nozzles. We observed tea and vegetable fields being sprinkled.
Field center pivot and lateral move systems were observed. These are in-
creasing in numbers. Presently, they are being purchased from the United States
Water well drilling rigs were noticed in most parts of China (Figure 4).
Inquiry was made as to the adequacy of equipment and methods and they seem to
be satisfactory. The author observed one well drilling crew for about 1/2
FIG. 1 Typical weather observation
post of which 16,000 have been set-
up in the country.
FIG. 2 "Raised fields" are used for
soil amelioration. Vegetables are
grown on small islands perhaps five
FIG. 3 A pressure sprinkler head manu- FIG. 4 Water well drilling rigs were
fractured in Shanghai. seen in most parts of China.
hour. They had a rotary rig and were doing a good job. Some Chinese drillers
should be invited here to learn some of our techniques which may be helpful.
The only new well casing seen was plastic (Figure 5). The well screen was
also plastic with about 3/4" holes. No one knew about steel well pipe but I
am sure some is being used.
Much of the land does have a high water table so many wells are less than
20 feet deep. Lift heads from wells are generally low so a pumping system as
shown in Figure 6 is typical. Most are driven by an electric motor. Pumping
is usually into an open ditch. Many ditches are lined as shown in Figure 7.
Corn is a big crop. Water may be conveyed long distance so above ground water
conveyances are often seen (Figure 8). The water is applied in many different
ways. The basin irrigation shown in Figure 9 is common for large and small
fields or plots.
Work with wet soils or irrigated fields presents special problems regard-
ing traction and flotation. Many high flotation tractors such as the boat
tractor (Figure 10) are seen and being used more.
The Chinese government is to be complimented on the development of research
and testing facilities for the improvement of irrigation in production agricul-
1. Expand available farm information.
In the United States the major sources of farm information are:
Extension and University 33%
Farm Magazines 24%
Information on purchasing supplies comes from:
Farm Magazines 19%
China's systems of communes and state farms with facilities and procedures
for technical training are an ideal means of disseminating information.
Product information also needs to be more widely disseminated.
2. I would recommend much closer working relationships between academic depart-
ments in extension type programs. For example, to improve irrigation infor-
mation, the water resource developers, irrigation engineers and crop pro-
duction people need to have a complete program to be of maximum benefit to
3. Continue and expand research regarding water supply and distribution, sali-
nity control, water conservation, irrigation scheduling, weather, and crop
varietal responses to irrigation in production agriculture.
4. Solicit help from other countries where extensive research has been done in
area 3 above.
C P .L
FIG. 5 Water well casings and well
screens were made from plastic with
about 3/4-in. holes.
FIG. 7 Many ditches are lined as
shown. Corn is a big crop.
/ j .? .Ak'.
"c- '.~rr "
FIG. 9 Basin irrigation is common for
large or small fields or plots.
Pumping systems used in irri-
Most are driven by an electric
FIG. 8 Water conveyances above ground
THE STATE OF AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING SYSTEMS
MODELING AND ANALYSIS IN CHINA
W. K. Bilanski
School of Engineering,
University of Guelph,
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
The Chinese hosts requested that two members of the delegation.
present seminars on the topic of systems analysis in agricultural
engineering: specifically, "Agricultural Systems Engineering --
Modelling" by Dr. J. Dixon and "Agricultural Systems Engineering --
Systems Analysis" by W.K. Bilanski. The former dealt with the
theoretical aspects; the latter dealt with applied linear pro-
gramming and included actual examples. These seminars were attended
by about 70 engineers from various parts of China.
It was evident not only during the seminars but from the
questions posed both before and after the presentations that a deep
and profound interest in the area of linear programming and systems
analysis exists in China; however, this area appears currently to
exist in a very embryonic stage in China -- comparable to the mid-50's
in North America. For example, systems analysis is just beginning
to be included in academic programs. During the reign of the "gang
of four" professors from universities and research centers were
reallocated to other tasks (e.g. tractor drivers, rice planters) and
are just beginning to be reassembled now. Furthermore, there was a
dearth of technical literature coming from the Western World.
After the "Convention of Science" in the spring of 1978,
Professor L. Chen, the Beijing College of Agricultural Mechanization,
Beijing, China, was entrusted to organize a group to introduce
Systems Engineering to China. He has assembled a series of papers
relative to the fundamental theory of Systems Engineering and their
application to agriculture and agricultural engineering in China.
This collection is currently in press and should be available in
China soon. Professor Chen indicated that he is the only professor
studying Agricultural Systems Engineering in China. He became
interested in this area after reading "Systems Engineering in
Agriculture -- A Symposium Introduction" in ASAE Transactions, 1967;
however, he could not work publicly in this area until the downfall
of the "gang of four". Systems analysis research projects currently
underway at the Beijing Institute of Agricultural Mechanics include
optimization of confined poultry, stress analysis of the joints of
agricultural machinery (mechanical and mathematical models and
computer programs for their stress solutions) and planning agricultural
mechanization for a typical region in China (optimization of farm
machinery and power units). At the time our delegation visited, the
only Chinese paper available dealing with agricultural systems analysis
was "One Method of Determining the Optimum Crop Production Machinery
Plant for a People's Commune" by Tao Ding-lai, Hwa Kwo-chu and Du
Yi-qui. This concerned constructing a load diagram of production
operations (including human and animal labor as well as mechanical
power) employing linear programming, and then establishing a
mathematical model. The computer solution will yield the optimum
plant in terms of models of tractors and implements and their
Not only is 'software' (programming) lacking, the 'hardware'
(computers) is also scarce in the facilities for agricultural and
agricultural engineering research. Since their interest is great,
if they receive the funds to procure the necessary 'hardware', this
area of technology will be comparable to any in the world within the
next decade. Because of the difference in agricultural enterprises,
this type of technology could have a greater impact in China than it
has had in North America. Most of the decisions in agricultural
enterprises in North America are made by the individual operating that
farm. In all of China, there are over 50,000 communes and 2,000 state
farms, each involving from 20,000 to 150,000 people. For each of
these collective enterprises, the main decisions are made centrally.
Hence, the assistance to decision making that could be provided by
systems analysis would be invaluable.
Each commune is broken into brigades, which can consist of
as few as 25 workers (as found on a large state farm) to several
hundred workers. The 25 worker brigade was specifically set up to
operate $1 million worth of machinery purchased from a large North
American agricultural machinery manufacturer. There is considerable
interest by the Chinese agricultural workers to see the economics of
having a large machinery investment for a small number of workers as
opposed to a small machinery investment for a large number of workers.
The decisions that must be made in China at the state-farm (or
commune) level are similar to those made on the average North American
farm. Namely, howmuch replacement of human labor by machinery is
economically justified? Indeed, the socio-political aspects, especi-
ally concerning the dislocation of labor, is more acute in China than
in North America (as pointed out by Vice-premier Wong in his address
to the delegates). However, factors such as these can be weighted
into the overall program.
Generally speaking, each commune makes its own decisions re-
garding what would be most economically viable for its own situation
as each is involved not only in the production of food but also in
the manufacture of those smaller items (e.g. furniture, small
implements, hand tools) needed by the commune. As we were informed
by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Machinery Sciences "There are
too many models of farm machinery with components and spare parts
not interchangeable, which causes great difficulty in manufacture,
operation and maintenance. Quite a few factories are 'large and
complete' or 'small and complete' and make practically everything from
components and spare parts to whole machines. As a result, the output
is small, quality poor, and cost high. Many factories are not quite
clear about what types of machinery they should be producing to meet
the needs of the market." A systems analysis could be of great
assistance in decision making regarding which factories should make
what, standardizing parts and sizes, relative economics making various
items and/or component parts on site and buying them from other communes,
To achieve the goal of mechanizing agriculture in China,
a systems analysis can aid in determining what to mechanize first
and what to mechanize later, and how to increase production and
income more rapidly. The data required for this decision making
under Chinese conditions can be obtained readily as one would be
dealing with a large, discrete but finite number of communes.
Such statistics as the cost of human labor, allocation of labor,
life of a given machine (e.g. tractor), the cost of machine operation
per hour, repair costs, scale of agricultural enterprise (number
hectares per crop), scale of other enterprises (manufacturing, etc.)
could be kept within each commune or state farm, or assembled in a
In all likelihood, the universities and research centers are
going to be responsible for the implementation of agricultural systems
modeling and analysis; but to be most effective it should be done
with the cooperation of the communes and state farms and on the basis
of a team effort comprised of an agriculturalist, an agricultural
engineer, and an economist.
A Glimpse of Culture ..... ...... pgs. 86-89
Agricultural Engineering Education
in the People's Republic of China . .. pgs. 90-94
John B. Liljedahl
Management and Implementation of
Agricultural Engineering Research
in Universities and Research Institutes . pgs. 95-98
Education Administration, Admission,
Specialization, Graduate Placement. . ... pgs. 99-101
Gerald C. Zoerb
A GLIMPSE OF CULTURE
Engineering Consultant to
Rain Bird Sprinkler Manufacturing Corp.
From the moment we arrived in Peking and were whisked to our
Friendship Hotel, it was obvious that this was a very. organized
event I was about to participate in. Even though the hour was
late, our plane was greeted by a group of smiling individuals
that made sure we were properly welcomed.
Our days were kept very full starting early in the morning
and continuing until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. at night. The variety of
events allowed us to capture a bit of many parts of Chinese life.
Our evening activities included many grand and glorious events -
among them a banquet featuring twenty-six courses. We also visit-
ed the Peking Opera and had the opportunity to enjoy the Chinese
acrobats. Other diversions that our hosts prepared for us were
sightseeing, visiting the Great Wall of China, the Ming Tombs, and
the Summer Palace. The guidebooks are all correct. There is no
way to express the feeling one gets when standing on the Great
Wall of China.
The first full day in China we visited the Imperial Palace
in Peking, and not only saw one of the most beautiful sights in
Peking; but it was our first opportunity to see the people. It
was one of our few opportunities to see the people during the day
when not at work. Sunday is a free day for most people in Peking,
so there were lots of sightseers at the Palace. The buildings
were gorgeous and each was a tribute to the artistry of the Chi-
nese people. Built in 1406 to 1420, these buildings have seen
many changes in China, but stand to show the permanence of a
Most of the people we saw in China were working, and working
very hard. Hard work in China is rewarded "to each according to
his work" as we heard stated in the slogan of one of the communes
we visited. (The original Chinese slogan was, "From each accord-
ing to his ability, to each according to his heed"). So the Chi-
nese people work long and hard eight hour days, but six day
weeks and ho vacations as we khow them. Vacations are not given;
however there is a "bonus" of two free weeks a year to visit with
family but only for singles and for married people assigned to
work in different cities. A not uncommon situation. Young coup-
les are encouraged to wait until they are in their middle twenties
before marrying in Chiha.
Maternity leave is granted to working women who are pregnant.
Fifty-six days are allowed for normal pregnancies, and seventy-
two if complications occur. The children of workers are cared
for in kindergartens and nurseries provided at the work sites.
This was true in all the factories and communes we visited.
Children can be placed in the nurseries at the age of three
months. They may remain but only for the duration of the workday
(cost 14 yuan per month), but also for a week at a time (cost 17
yuan per month) returning home for the weekend, boarding school
style. We did see, however, outside the work place a great many
older people (presumably grandparents) caring for small children.
The issue of children and population in China is truly an explo-
sive one. The Chinese government is encouraging couples to have
only one child because China's population has almost doubled from
540 million in 1949. But the monumental task of regulating the
reproductive habits of almost one billion people is meeting with
some resistance. The government's efforts for "mobilization for
family planning" clashes with Chinese tradition based on a rural
economy where sons have always been needed to till the fields.
"More sons, more bliss" the Chinese saying goes, and couples who
have daughters keep trying for sons. There are various economic
rewards being given to various couples for having only one child.
The issue of women generally in Chinese society was empha-
sized to us by party officials. Women are important in China,
they said, and pointed out that there were many women in univer-
sities and technical positions. Our observations showed about a
25% female employee population in the factories and about a 50%
enrollment in the universities'we visited. That this is differ-
ent than the situation in the United States is evidenced by the
large number of pictures that our group took of female lathe
operators during our visit to China.
Culturally we saw evidence everywhere of what we in our cul-
ture might label "the woman's touch". For example, attention to
detail was evident everywhere. Every table we dined at was
arranged with an eye to color and design as well as taste. Many
of our dishes were artistically arranged to imitate a peacock, a
flower basket, or an arrangement of flowers. Our train car had a
green plant in each compartment on laced clothed tables. We were
handed a damp washcloth for hands and face at every welcoming
point. Our guest or hotel room had hot water and tea at all
times. These are but a few examples of the many,many details
that were attended to during our 3-1/2 week stay in China.
During part of our visit we gave seminars to 300 agricultural
engineers and others working in agricultural fields. We conducted
six concurrent sessions for two mornings in the Great Hall of the
People. Modern marble monument to the industry of the Chinese
people it was constructed in a mere ten months. Inside exqui-
site leather seats and red carpeting furnished meeting rooms.
The Great Hall of the People symbolizes the unity of almost one-
billion Chinese people.
Also located near the Great Hall of the People on Tien Amin
Square was the mausoleum where Mao is lying in state. Outside
the building there were masses of people waiting four abreast in
line to get in and to take a very short 20 minute walk through
the room where this great man lay. There was a huge show of re-
spect as there was not a single word or utterance made during the
entire time that masses of people are moving through the room
where Mao was.
In our travels by train through the countryside we watched
hectares and hectares of cropland whiz past. We observed that
triple cropping is very prevalent especially in the south which
has a climate similar to that of the southern regions of the
United States. But even in a country of a billion people labor
shortages can occur,so there is a great rush to get the crop har-
vested and the next crop in the ground. Most of this labor is by
hand with plows powered by water buffalo. Mechanization at this
point is very important to China, but it must be appropriate
mechanization. The key work is "appropriate". The government
does not wish to put large numbers of people out of work, but
none-the-less needs to mechanize at just the right rate to insure
that the people are fed. Starvation is no longer the problem it
was before the 1950s but its memory still looms large.
Related to agriculture, a real problem being encountered by
the Chinese is the fact that China's young people do not wish to
stay on the farm. This has caused major cities to experience
housing difficulties while the young people themselves are faced
with the dilemma of alternate work exacerbated by the Cultural
Revolution that greatly affected the educational situation in
China. For ten years (1966-1976) universities were closed and
professors and lecturers were sent to the rural areas to work.
This created a large void for young people. Today university en-
rollments are limited by available facilities and staff. Only
one-tenth of the qualified students were able to attend univer-
sity this year. This ten year gap results in a mixed population
of students in the universities. Most of them are 17 to 18 years
old, but they can run as old as 24 years of age.
Everywhere we went we were greeted with a great friendliness.
Many of the areas of the country that we visited had not had
many visitors from the west and so we were a great curiosity.
But there was such an open frankness that one realized that the
Chinese people merely wanted to learn about us as much as we
wanted to learn about them.
The Chinese have a saying, "If you visit China for a week,
you will write a book; for three weeks, you will write an arti-
cle; for a year, you will not write anything because you will
then begin to understand the complexity of China." Using this
formula our 3-1/2 weeks stay qualifies me for this article, but
also points out the great difficulty of assessing another cul-
ture. China has made great strides and is embarking on ambi-
tious programs in several areas to modernize. My earnest hope
is that China keeps that wonderful sense of culture and tradi-
tion that makes her so unique.
'. . ,. -..
S, --. .. .' ... : -.. ;.... ^,,
0.1 ..1' :
Bicycles are used to haul all kinds of
ASAE President Al Best is greeted by
a host of one of the communes
Charles McKeon is in the background
This bicycle park indicates the main
means of transportation
l. e ...
., s. .. .-, .-
Hua o i '- in evi de .
Human labor is still in evidence
AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING EDUCATION IN
THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA
John B. Liljedahl
Professor of Agricultural Engineering
University level education in China was seriously
interrupted and set back during the Cultural Revolution which in
China is more often referred to as the reign of the Gang of Four.
During this period, which lasted roughly from about 1966 to 1976,
most of the universities and research institutes were partly or
completely closed and the faculty and students were forced into
The 10-year period of disruption also resulted in
considerable deterioration of the physical facilities of the
institutes and universities. The buildings and laboratories
that we saw appeared to be adequate.
About 25 percent of the faculty have advanced degrees
from the U.S. about 30 plus years ago and from the USSR more
They are most anxious to increase the technical level
of their faculty. They are asking for visiting professors from
the U.S. and Canada to assist them on short-term assignments.
They indicated a preference for professors on sabbatical leave.
Seven schools or universities in China teach agricultural
machinery under the administration of the Ministry of Agricultural
Machinery. Since Agricultural Mechanization is one of their four
modernization goals, it has a ministerial level of importance. The
ASAE delegation visited the Department of Agricultural Machinery
at Jilin University in Chang Chun. Jilin University is the largest
unit teaching agricultural machinery in China. We also visited
agricultural machinery institutes or colleges at Beijing* (Peking),
and at Guangzhou (Canton).
We learned that there is no degree presently given. The
students simply complete the required amount of study and then leave
the university or institute. Our group felt (and we had agreement
from most of the university teachers that we met), that this should
be changed and the eligible students should be awarded a formal
They do not call their profession "Agricultural
Engineering" as we do. Consequently, some of the areas such as
Soil and Water Engineering, Food Engineering, Farm Structures, or
Forest Engineering are not taught. The Agricultural Machinery
departments that we visited all had a reasonable amount of research
going on in conjunction with their teaching. At Jilin University
they also had 38 graduate students all involved in research.
At Jilin University 500 students were majoring in
Agricultural Machinery while 250 had a major in Tractors. Although
Jilin University is under the direction of the Ministry of
Agricultural Machinery it also has a Department of Automotive
Engineering, a Department of Industrial Machinery, a Department of
Electronic Engineering, a Department of Mechanical Engineering and
a Department of Science. We were told that about 25% of their
students at Jilin University were women. The curriculum in
Agricultural Machinery was a reasonably good one. Our only question
was a shortage of courses dealing with the subject of design. The
students were required to spend three months before graduation in
a machine shop and in a manufacturing facility which the university
One of the problem areas as far as agricultural machinery
is concerned is that by far the largest number of students come
from the cities. This is of course, because they have a better
high school education and therefore they are more successful in
taking examinations for entrance to the university. Entrance to
all of the universities in China including the farm machinery
departments or colleges is by examination. The examination takes
3 days and eliminates 90% of the students trying to get into the
* latest Romanization of Peking
Jilin University had a total of 3,200 students in all
of the various curricula.
The Beijing Institute of Agricultural Mechanization is
somewhat smaller and was founded in 1952 but otherwise is organized
somewhat like Jilin University. We did find that even though
seven agricultural machinery departments in China were under the
Agricultural Machinery Minister they did have some autonomy and
differed somewhat amongst themselves. The Beijing Institute
included a department of Agricultural Mechanization, a department
of Design and Manufacture of Farm Machinery, a department of
Hydraulic Engineering of Farm Land, a department of Rural
Electrification and a department of Basic Courses which are
science courses. The Beijing Institute and the Jilin University
were not associated with agricultural universities or colleges
so unfortunately they taught their own Agricultural courses such
as Agronomy and Animal Husbandry.
We thought it would be better if they could somehow
become associated with an agricultural college so that the
agricultural courses would be more likely to be taught by
experts in their field. At the Beijing Institute of Agricultural
Mechanization the students were only required to take one course
in Agriculture called Fundamentals of Agricultural Science.
Considering that almost all of the students studying agricultural
machinery came from the city it would appear that several courses
in agriculture should be taken rather than the one course.
However, students at Beijing were required to take 33 weeks of
practice and design which included working in the college shop,
overhauling machinery, a machine design course and a thesis
At the South China Agricultural College at Guangzhou
(Canton) we visited the Agricultural Machinery Department. At
that school they had a curriculum which they called Agricultural
Mechanization. This is four years of study. They also have five
years of study called Design of Machinery.
We examined some of the textbooks used at Beijing
Institute of Agricultural Mechanization. Three of the textbooks
dealt with the subject of farm machinery repair and maintenance.
Such courses would not normally be taught to Agricultural
Engineering students in the United States. Under the circumstances
in China it appears that this is a logical type of course for their
students to take. I examined in more detail and with the aid of a
translator two books dealing with the farm machinery. These had
been written by the faculty at the Beijing Institute. They
appeared to be more on the operation of farm machines rather than
their design. The series of four books on tractors and auto-
mobiles had been written by the faculty at Nanking Agricultural
College, the Agricultural Mechanization Division, and published
by Agricultural Press. The series of books on tractors had been
written in 1960 while the two books on machinery and the three
books on machinery repair had been written in 1961. Two of the
four books on tractors and automobiles were of an operational
nature while two were on theory. One of them being a good book
on theory of engines and a second one was a good book on the theory
of tractor and automobile stability, traction and so on. We were
told that the cultural revolution had interrupted their attempts
to bring the books up-to-date but that this was now in the process.
An interesting observation is that the textbooks had no authors
listed. We suggested that since it's unlikely that the author
received any financial reward for writing the books that the
least that could be done would be to include their names as authors
of the books.
We were told that the employment of the Agricultural
Machinery majors was primarily with the farm equipment and tractor
factories and with a research institute. None of the students
graduating from such curricula had gone to work on any of the
Summary. It appears that the quality of students studying
Agricultural Machinery in China is excellent since they are
selected from the top 10% of the students taking College Entrance
Exams. Unfortunately, most the students come from cities and have
had little agricultural background. It would appear that their
curricula could be strengthened by the addition of more agricultural
experience either by taking more agricultural courses during their
college career or having some on-farm experience. The curriculum
also seemed to be short of design courses. The depth of engineering
analysis courses appeared to be very adequate.
t F.--' '" '
A &Snf ,Ci ,f,..&., ..
Tool and Die Shop at Harbin Disc Harrow 75 hp crawler made at Luoyang. 22,000
Factory. made in 1978.
at the Internal
".- ."^ ,^ jt
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... '- '.,-,-, .. .. .. n AA *
.. -- 1
John Der *2w plo not been' used
~ ; I ^
oh ... r p o
John Deere 2-way plow not been used.
ASAE President Al Best on 35 hp
tractor made at Feng Shou Tractor
Factory, Shanghai. 8500 of this
model are made each year.
New experimental 65 hp developed at
Feng Shou Tractor Factory, Shanghai.
Rice storage bins on Xin Qiao
commune near Shanghai.
Valmont irrigation system being
MANAGEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION
AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING RESEARCH
UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH INSTITUTES
Agricultural Engineering Department
University of Tennessee
The ASAE delegation to China visited six university and
research institutes. Those that were visited were the Jilin
Industry University at Jilin, the Chinese Academy of Agricul-
tural Mechanization Sciences at Peking, the Zhenjiang
Agricultural Machinery College, the Shanghai Research Institute
of Farm Machinery, the Shanghai Research Institute of Internal
Combustion Engines, the Guangdong Research Institute of Agri-
cultural Machinery, and the South China Agricultural College
According to reports to the delegation, there are seven
schools that teach Agricultural Engineering in an agricultural
mechanization sense in the whole country of China the largest
being the one at Jilin. The enrollment at the Jilin institution
is 3200 students with 500 of them in the agricultural machinery
field. In addition to the agricultural machinery field, they
have 17 other specialty departments which include such things
as tractors, automotive, general transportation, foundry forging,
welding, building management, math, physics, etc.
The universities tend to have a large number of teachers
relative to the number of students. For example, at Jilin there
are 865 teachers for 3200 students. This should offer a staff-
student ratio such that students can get close supervision for
doing research work that is done at these institutions.
Basically, they have a four-year school system. The first
three years is basic the last year is one that gets into design
work with a thesis being required. At this point students get
an exposure to research work.