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Sail Plow

Harness the wind instead of the oxen
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For millenia farmers have pulled their plows/ploughs with beasts of burden. The trouble with that is the animals have to be fed, housed and generally cared for whether or not there are any fields to be plowed at the moment. They are also well known for emitting copious quanitites of greenhouse gases.

A few decades ago mechanized tractors took up the load but they are expensive, require fuel and also emit noxious gases. They would still be the best option for large corporate farms of the First World but aren't necessarily affordable by smaller scale or subsistence farmers.

The Sail Plow (insert catchy name here) contraption would consist of an array of computer controlled kite sails (See Kite Tug Link) which may or may not be filled with helium. The sails would connect to the humble plow and flown via servos and inexpensive computing power. Some oversize wheels with controllable camber will aid steering. Get the computer controls meshed with GPS correctly and the farmer can let the thing run by itself as long as the wind blows - even at night.

The Sail Plow electronics, servos and the kite sails will all cost money but not as much as a humble tractor or team of oxen. Who knows, it might even scale up to the Corporate Farms - especially those who like to tout their green image.

AusCan531, Dec 10 2012

Kite tugs for the sea http://www.dcss.org...l/why_kitetugs.html
[AusCan531, Dec 10 2012]

[link]






       I like it a lot. Just one kite? Would it or they ever get tangled? or crash needing to constantly be reset? Sounds like a bit of a PITA. Fix that and I'll buy one just to have something constructive to watch while I drink Beer.
Brian the Painter, Dec 10 2012
  

       I initially misread the title as "Snail Plow"...
prufrax, Dec 10 2012
  

       Plows go back and forth in parallel lines, not tacking like a sailboat. How does it get back to the end of each row?
Alterother, Dec 10 2012
  

       As long as the furrows aren't directly into the wind, that shouldn't be a problem, depending on how tightly the plow can tack.
MechE, Dec 10 2012
  

       Aus, what made you think of oxen?   

       [prufrax], please post your idea. Sounds great!
pashute, Dec 10 2012
  

       [Alterother] Plows can go in concentric paths as well as back and forth. Kite surfers and sailboaters usually go in a triangular pattern so could the Sail Plow. If you can make 2 triangles you can make any rectangle. Even if there is a lot of overlap in the pattern it doesn't really cost anything. Just let it run forever - or at least until you're ready to plant.   

       [pashute] Oxen pulling plows came to mind from [spidermother's] comment in the Roof garden oxen power posting.
AusCan531, Dec 10 2012
  
      
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