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Mechanization of Tillage and Harvesting Operations for Paddy Production in Malaysia: Challenges and Potentials

The continuing revolution in mechanization technology has led to the introduction of new machinery for soil tillage and paddy harvesting, which can potentially overcome the existing challenges in mechanized paddy production. A new crawler-type tractor, which is relatively lighter and smaller than the conventional tractor, has been introduced for tillage. This type of tractor has higher tractive performance and lower operating cost than the traditional tractor. Likewise, a new medium-sized combine harvester equipped with rubber tracks has been recently made available in the market. This machine causes minimum soil damage and has been hinted to have better field performance and lower operating cost.

However, before these newly introduced machineries can be fully adopted by the industry, their field performances should be evaluated by comparing them with those of the conventional equipment. Their impacts on the soil condition of the paddy field should also be investigated. These field measurements are important because the proper selection and management of machines are the key strategies to maximize field performance and to minimize machine operating costs. Alternatively, farmers could also adopt conservation agriculture methods.

In conclusion, this paper provides an overview of the paddy production in Malaysia and reviews the current mechanization status in paddy production in the country, especially for tillage and harvesting operations. It also reviews the challenges in using the existing machinery and the potential solutions to those problems through the latest machinery technology.


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