8 unbelievable things you never knew about farm equipment

8 unbelievable things you never knew about farm equipment

The image of a multiplicity of combine harvesters traversing and harvesting the corn plains of North America is a powerful testament to the success of agricultural mechanization programs. Developments in control and instrumentation have also been notable including wellestablished innovations such as grain loss meters, work rate meters and crop density meters.

The emphasis is on the adoption of mechanized techniques in farming systems which are already using animal draft. The issues surrounding the introduction of animal draft where only hand cultivation is practiced are discussed in Pingali, Bigot, and Binswanger (1985). Instead of a summary or conclusions, a set of generalizations is presented in the text.

It is well recognized that the selection of equipment is only the beginning of appropriate machinery management (see also, Agricultural Equipment: Choice and Operation). For example, the operation of the individual pieces of equipment must be coordinated properly in order to enhance productivity and efficiency. Another trend is precision agriculture (Figure 1), where state-of-the-art control and automation technology can be used to apply the optimum amount of seeds, water, fertilizers and pesticides to maximize economic return and minimize environmental damage. Maintaining working conditions and optimal performance of agricultural equipment is of vital importance in agricultural and food production due to the timeliness factor.
Early tractor designs were based on the concept of substituting mechanical pulling or draft power for the draft animal classically associated with pulling plows through the soil, operating reaper and binder machines through fields of corn, or mowers through fields of grass. Cumbersome steam powered engines were soon to be replaced by the more energy efficient and compact internal combustion engine.With a decline in fossil fuel supply (inevitable in the medium to long term) the attention will switch to renewable sources for on-farm fuel use and to renewable and/or nuclear for off-farm electricity generation. The renewable fuel that is most likely to be suitable for use in tractors and other self-propelled machines is esterified oil from oilseeds.

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Food production can be increased if the primary producer or farmer is provided with a guaranteed profitable income for the farm produce. With such guarantees the farmer can invest in the necessary inputs including mechanization to increase productivity, secure in the knowledge that, as productivity increases, income will increase enabling payback and facilitating further investment as required.

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