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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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Crop husbandry shifts to new sources of power only after tillage, transport, threshing, and seeding have done so. Seeding and planting. Animal and tractor-drawn machines are capable of greater precision than hand methods for only a few agricultural operations, especially seeding and planting. Mechanical means of seeding may lead to modest direct improvements in yields and may be attractive in land-scarce countries with intensive farming.

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Agricultural mechanization has involved the partial or full replacement of human energy and animal-powered equipment (e.g. plows, seeders and harvesters) by engine-driven equipment. Most of this is tractor driven and to a lesser extent self-propelled equipment (including harvesters, sprayers, fertilizer applicators, planters and seeders). Agricultural mechanization has been pioneered in North America and Europe and more recently in Japan, and is now spreading rapidly throughout the world. Notwithstanding such progress, a significant element of human and animal powered mechanization remains, particularly in the poorer regions of the world.

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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.

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