Rototilt RT20B on Cat 305.5 loading topsoil

However, the social impact of the consequential rural depopulation has not been adequately addressed. The second most important advance in technology has been the ready availability of rural electricity to power a multiplicity of items of farm equipment including lighting, heating, ventilation, milking, pumping, drying, milling, conveying and mixing. Furthermore, the automation of both mechanically and electrically powered equipment is now a dominant feature of mechanization developments in the developed regions and will inevitably impact to an increasing extent on the developing regions as labor costs increase. The rapid penetration of telecommunication and information technologies will provide a further layer of sophistication to the mechanization capability and strategies in agriculture.

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.

Chris Foote operating his Cat305.5 fitted with a Rototilt RT20B loading topsoil on a landscaping project in Hamilton
Note how clean the loading area stays.

The operations of farming for which machines are used are diverse. For crop production they include handling of residues from previous crops; primary and secondary tillage of the soil; fertilizer distribution and application; seeding, planting, and transplanting; cultivation; pest control; harvesting; transportation; storage; premarketing processing; drainage; irrigation and erosion control; and water conservation.

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The importance of enhancing and upgrading such mechanization practices prior to the almost inevitable transition to engine-driven equipment is now well recognized. Automation of agricultural mechanization is an intensive area of research and development with emphasis on enhancement of food quality, preservation of operator comfort and safety, precision application of agrochemicals, energy conservation and environmental control.

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