JOHN DEERE 6030 Tractor Plowing

Because mechanization of harvesting is directly dependent on labor costs, it is rarely profitable in low-wage countries. The higher the control intensity of the operation, the higher must labor costs be to warrant using a machine. Crop husbandry. Weeding and cleaning of crops, fields, and orchards are control-intensive operations. In animal systems, people go on weeding by hand long after the introduction of the plow and cart-until rising wages make herbicides profitable.

Liquid pesticides cannot be applied without at least a hand pump. Even for pesticides in dust form, mechanized dusters achieve higher precision and reduce waste. Sprayers were developed at the same time as pesticides. In France, for example, spraying carts were widely used in vineyards in 1929.

While the future role of autonomous power supply systems is likely to expand, the total contribution to agricultural mechanization energy is likely to be of modest proportion. In other words, farms of the future will depend primarily on a purchased energy supply (i.e. diesel fuel or renewable substitute/extender, and electricity) to which autonomous power may make a valuable but small contribution to those farmers who wish to pursue the available options.
The equipment used for the post-harvest treatment and preservation of durable and perishable produce includes cleaners, sorters and graders, fans (for fresh air ventilation and fumigation), dryers, refrigeration, controlled atmosphere equipment, conveyors, and handling, packaging and labeling equipment (see also, Equipment for Post-harvest Preservation and Treatment of Produce).All of the foregoing technological advances have been critically dependent on the availability of an abundant and economic supply of fossil fuels including diesel fuel for on-farm tractors and self-propelled machines; and natural gas, heavy fuel oil and coal for off-farm electricity generation.

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The most dramatic aspect of mechanization is the shift from one source of power to another. In ancient China cattle began to replace human labor more than 3,200 years ago. Between the second and fourth century A.D. fairly widespread use of water power is reported from China for rice pounding, grinding, and water lifting (Liu 1962).

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