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jau junagadh
India ranks second in fruits and vegetable production in the world, after China. It produced 191.77 million tonnes of vegetables under area cultivation of 10.35 million hectare as per National Horticulture Database (Second Advance Estimates) published by National Horticulture Board, during 2019-20. The average productivity of most horticultural crops in India is low due to the use of traditional tools and methods for cultivation. In Saurashtra region, most of farmers conduct harvesting of leafy crops like coriander, fenugreek, Indian spinach etc. manually in the early morning. It involves a variety of traditional postures not ergonomically suitable for harvesting and prolonged exposure to these traditional methods can result in drudgery and occupational diseases. Due to perishable nature of leafy crops, harvesting requires manpower and delayed harvesting affects the quality of the product. The manual harvesting in one hectare area of leafy crops normally needs 160- 200 man- hours and labour cost is increasing over the years. To solve the harvesting problem for leafy crops a self-propelled leafy crop harvester was designed developed and its performance was evaluated. The developed harvester mainly consists of main frame, cutting unit, conveyor unit, storage unit, steering unit and transportation unit with the cutting width of 0.76 m and total weight of 213 kg was designed, developed and tested for three different crops namely, coriander, fenugreek and Indian spinach at three crank speeds (S1 - 175-274 rpm, S2- 275-374 rpm and S3 -375-425 rpm). The cutting efficiency was found 81.08 %, 73.41 % and 62.98 % for Indian spinach, fenugreek and coriander respectively. The highest cutting efficiency was found at highest crank speed. The crankshaft speed, S3 (375 - 425 rpm) was found to have the highest effective field capacity. It was found 0.1099 ha/h, 0.1096 ha/h, and 0.1041 ha/h for Indian Spinach, fenugreek and coriander respectively. The field efficiency was found 79.04 % in Indian spinach crop as compared to 78.79 % for fenugreek and 74.86 % for coriander. The fuel consumption was found 0.96 l/h, 0.97 l/h and 0.96 l/h for coriander, fenugreek, and Indian spinach respectively. The heart rate, oxygen consumption and energy consumption rate were increased with increase in crank speed. The highest values of energy consumption rate 4.41 kcal/min were found for Indian spinach at crank speed, S3. These values indicate the harvesting operation comes under the category of moderately heavy work. The subjective rating of subjects during the operation was found in range of 3.4 - 4.6 which falls in category of light to moderate work. The cost of harvesting by the developed harvester was compared with the manual method and found ₹ 1990.38 /- and ₹ 7000/- per hectare respectively. The saving in cost and time of harvesting by leafy crop harvester was found 71.57 % and 95.30 % per hectare with respect to manual method of harvesting. The benefit cost ratio and payback period for self-propelled leafy crop harvester was found 3.05 and 2.62 years, respectively. The break-even point for the developed leafy crop harvesting machine was found 122.9 h per year