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Local autonomous power supply systems are generally limited to stationary applications which, although of vital importance to farm mechanization, still represent a considerably smaller fraction of total energy than that used in mobile mechanization systems powered by tractors and other engine-driven vehicular equipment.

The historical image of farm labor has been that associated with backbreaking work, long hours and low pay. From the earliest times attempts have been made to alleviate drudgery through inventions and developments of implements and machines that have gradually transformed agriculture into a modern industry served by technologically sophisticated mechanization systems.

For these reasons (environmental enhancement, sustainability) intensive research and development in renewable fuels (including oilseed oils and alcohols) continues and has lead to a small number of commercial applications in niche markets. The future market for renewable fuel use is difficult to predict but will remain an active issue in the continuing debate on alternative fuels for vehicles including agricultural vehicles. Finally, the use of on-farm generated electricity, as opposed to that purchased from a utility, is discussed below (see also, Agriculture and Autonomous Power Supply).
Position control is a system whereby the position of a fully mounted implement (sprayer or fertilizer distributor, whose weight is completely supported by the tractor) is automatically maintained in a constant position (e.g. operating height over the ground) despite leakages in the hydraulic system tending to lower the position of the implement.The projected gradual increase in the use of renewable fuels coupled with state-of-the-art advances in mechanization, such as precision farming, means that the goal of high productivity may be coupled with sustainable strategies and environmental protection.

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How the economics of such an approach evolve depends on the commitment of the international community to attain such sustainable and environmental goals. There has been a substantial global investment in agricultural mechanization and automation by governments, industry, farmers and international agencies. In general, the return on investment has been spectacular.

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