The concept of timeliness recognizes that there is an optimum time to perform certain crop production operations from planting through to harvesting. If one or more of these operations is performed too early or too late, a timeliness penalty is likely to accrue, that is, yield and/or the quality of the crop is diminished, yielding a lower price to the farmer. For example, the ideal time to harvest grain is when the crop is ripe and the moisture is low (see also, Maintaining Working Conditions and Operation of Machinery).
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.