In case 1 unused land is available and mechanization leads to output growth-the more so, the higher the elasticity of final demand. The best example is the United States in the second half of the century: an impressive horse-based mechanization led to massive agricultural growth because land was rapidly opened up and export markets in Europe provided a highly elastic demand for agricultural products.
For other machines, the explosive growth of the postwar period must be understood as a response to unprecedented rates of growth in agricultural wages. This section therefore concludes with two generalizations. Generalization 16. Where cost advantages are large or change rapidly, individual operations are mechanized very quickly.
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.Such machinery has facilitated the full or partial replacement of human- and animal-powered equipment in developed countries and increasingly in developing countries as well. The net result has been higher productivity and the welcome elimination of much of the drudgery of manual farm labor. For example, one person involved in agricultural production can now provide enough food and fiber for 128 others whereas only a century ago one person could provide food and fiber for only eight others (see also, Technology and Power in Agriculture).Clearly additional investment in research and development is required to render the autonomous power supply options as economic and user-friendly as possible. Also, it should be noted that the purchased electricity supply, although not autonomous, could still be (at least in part) generated from renewable power sources. From a national perspective, renewable alternatives to diesel fuel for mobile equipment (e.g. oilseed fuels) (see also, Energy Sources: Renewable and Non Renewable) may also be considered as autonomous power.
More recently, direct drilling operations have become more popular where the seed is planted directly into non-cultivated soil using a corn drill (Figure 5) typically for winter cereals and forage crops, or a vacuum precision drill typically for maize, soybean and sunflower. Energy conservation and reduced soil compaction are evident advantages of a system that can also combine two, three or four field operations into one.