For example, in an extensively farmed area of Africa where hoe cultivation is used yields may be low, while in an intensively farmed tractorized region of India yields may be much higher. The yield differences may be caused in part by differences in other inputs, such as fertilizers or seeds. They could also be caused by better tillage in India-but this does not mean that good tillage is achieved only by tractors and cannot be achieved by hand. Examples from Java show that cultivation by hand can be as thorough as by ox or tractor.
During the nineteenth century many attempts were made to develop harvesting machinery in Europe and the United States.
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.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.As a consequence, the transition to engine powered mechanization is likely to occur sooner rather than later in the poorer regions unless rural life (especially for females) can be made more attractive.
Additional and exciting technological developments are taking place in tractor design with emphasis on precision farming, communications and information technologies. These are intended to enhance performance and take account of energy conservation, environmental protection and sustainability considerations. The modern tractor is reviewed in detail in Tractors and Transport (EOLSS on-line, 2002).