Agricultural Technology – History, Present & Future

Agricultural production system is an outcome of a complex interaction of seed, water, soil and agro-chemicals. Therefore, proper management of all the inputs is essential for the sustainability of such a complex system. Modern farming system provides better income in a short period of time with less labour. This is primarily because of advancement in technology. The technology includes machines, devices, sensors and information technology. For every stage of agricultural process machines have been designed. Agricultural engineers are trained to design agricultural machinery. The advanced devices like GPS, moisture sensors and remote sensing allow farming more efficient and profitable. This system of farming massively increase farm output and change the way people are employed and produce food worldwide. The main and important agricultural machinery is the tractor and mechanization includes the use of helicopters and airplanes.

History

Humans were hunter-gatherers. They travelled with the season to follow the food supply. As plant life patterns and growth area changed, people set up camps and started farming. Settled life followed implements and technologies. After industrial revolution machines are developed for tilling the soil, irrigating the land, planting seeds, protecting them from pests and weeds, harvesting, threshing grain, livestock feeding, sorting and packaging the products.

The power for agricultural machinery was supplied by domesticated animals. Then tractors are appeared with the invention of steam power. For the next generation of tractors, the main source of power was internal combustion engine. These engines lead to the development of self propelled thresher and combine harvester which cut, threshed and separated the grain while operating through the field.

Most common farm machinery

The farming industry has been improved as the technology is advancing. The fuel and electric powered machines replaced hand-held machines as well as animal-drawn machinery. It reduced the time and labour requirements.

Types:

  • Tillage implements: They prepare the land before planting by loosening the soil. Different types of plough are used for tillage purpose. The implements killing the weeds and making the land suitable for sowing so that the roots of the crop can penetrate through the soil.
  • Cultivator: This is used for cultivating the land and making the soil well pulverized for planting the crop. Also it destroys the weeds and aerating the soil. Hardened soil can be easily pulverized and making the soil well suitable for farming.
  • Seeders and planters: After the soil has been tiled, seeders or planters are used for sowing the seeds equally in rows or planting the crops. Mechanization leads to the use of transplanters and lots of seeds or crops can be planted with in few hours.
  • Weeders: After planting the crop, weeders can be used for removing weed plants from between rows.
  • Sprayers: These are used for spraying pesticides, fertilizers, fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and any other products for getting good quality output. There are various types of sprayers available in the markets. The spraying product can be sprayed in powdered or liquid form.
  • Tractor: This is the mainly used machinery for farm operations. Equipments can be attached to the tractor for doing farm works. The tractor will pull or draw the machines and execute the tasks. Various types of tractors are available depending upon the size of the machinery attached to it.
  • Cutters and shredders: There equipments are mainly used for cutting and shredding of unwanted vegetative growth and weeds.
  • Harvesters: The harvesting of plants can be easily done by using various types of harvesters. Combine harvester is widely using which will do the farm works such as harvesting, threshing, cleaning, storing etc.
  • Baler: This machinery is used for cutting the straw and hay. It tightly packages the grass into a storable form. Balers bind the bales with the twine for easy transportation.
  • Irrigation equipments: Different typed of pumps, engines and other specialized gears are used for providing water quickly and effectively.

Agriculture technology and future

As technology advancing, the modern farming system is advancing by the use of Global Positioning System (GPS), remote sensing (RS), computer monitoring system etc. and development of more precise and less wasteful use of water, fuel, fertilizers and other resources. Also there may be advance in genetic engineering and nanotechnology which will provide even better improvement in farming sector.

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