In the meantime, it is imperative that human and animal powered mechanization is made as efficient and attractive as possible to eliminate some of the drudgery associated with it. Substantial investment in research and development by governments, industry and international agencies is required to achieve this goal. For example, it has been proposed that state-of-the-art precision farming technologies could be integrated with animal powered mechanization to enhance land productivity through precise application of crop nutrients and environmentally sensitive tillage systems.
This is based on the clear evidence of a global shift towards engine and motor driven mechanization systems. The situation is outlined in detail in Farm Machinery, (EOLSS on-line, 2002). Apart from the tractor, the farm machine that has captured the public imagination is the massive combine harvester, a miracle of modern technology.
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.Advances in technology have been central to the dramatic progress in the mechanization of farming practices throughout the world. Of greatest importance has been the development of the internal combustion engine and its utilization in farm tractors, combine harvesters and other self-propelled agricultural machinery.Early methods of weed control included mowing, flooding, cultivating, smothering, burning, and crop rotation. Though these methods are still important, other means are perhaps more typical today, particularly the use of herbicide (plant-killing) chemicals. Another technique is to introduce insects that attack only the unwanted plant and destroy it while leaving the crop plants unharmed.
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.