On the other hand, a contractor servicing many small growers in a local region can spread the capital cost accordingly and provide a service at an affordable price. For individual farmers who cannot afford a new and expensive item of equipment and who prefer not to depend on contractor availability, purchase of second hand equipment is an option where the support of a local finance agency may be required.
Power supply may be considered as autonomous at different levels: at local on-farm level, at local co-operative level or at national level. At local level autonomous power supply may be defined as that power which is generated on-farm for local on-farm use.
Precision farming practices including the use of global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) are applicable not only to harvesting operations but to other farm mechanization operations including precision application of agrochemicals i.e. applying a pesticide or a crop nutrient where it is required and at the appropriate concentration rather than using blanket coverage.Alternatively, it may be applied on the surface of the ground or crop (e.g. grass) using a tractor mounted centrifugal spinner or oscillating spout type applicator where the fertilizer is broadcast rather than placed in rows. Aerial application of fertilizers may also be used in locations inaccessible to tractors, as described in Fertilizer Applicators and Plant Protection Equipment (EOLSS on-line, 2002). Both pressurized (typically using ammonia) and nonpressurized liquid fertilizer applicators are also described. Protection of plants from diseases and pests is normally achieved by atomizing a liquid formulation containing the active pesticide ingredient through a small nozzle under pressure and spraying onto, beside or beneath the crop canopy, or by using granular pesticide applicators.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.
The choice or selection of agricultural equipment is dictated by a multiplicity of factors including the nature and size of the enterprise, the profitability and access to finance, the economic status of the region, the accessibility to a range of equipment options at local level, the ownership (individual, shared or cooperative) of equipment and access to mechanization contractors.