The mechanization of farming practices throughout the world has revolutionized food production, enabling it to maintain pace with population growth except in some lessdeveloped countries, most notably in Africa. There is a long history of agricultural mechanization that has been human and animal powered rather than engine powered. The difference in scale is quite staggering and is a measure of the economic gulf between the rich and the poor on this planet. For example, an average horse plowing the soil at an average rate will perform work at a rate of one horsepower (hp). In contrast, a 100 hp (75 kW) tractor could work (e.g. plowing the soil) at a rate one hundred times faster than the horse.
For smaller, less accessible areas, knapsack sprayers mounted on a persons back and operated by a manually pressurized nozzle are still quite popular and inexpensive. More specialized equipment including high-pressure orchard sprayers, airblast sprayers, electrostatic sprayers, aircraft sprayers and dusters has also been described in Fertilizer Applicators and Plant Protection Equipment (EOLSS on-line, 2002). 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.
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