Agricultural machinery, movable and stationary, are used in various branches of agricultural operations like land preparation, planting, irrigation, harvesting, post-harvest operations, aquaculture, animal husbandry and poultry.
From being a gatherer and hunter, when man settled down as a farmer, he has been inventing and modifying implements and tools to make his job easier. With the advent of industrial revolution, he started using wheeled machinery for land preparation and harvesting. The power to carry out these activities he started using horse, ox and other domesticated animals.
With the invention of steam power, ground-crawling agricultural steam engines started replacing domesticated animals. Many agricultural activities like tilling, irrigation and harvesting, threshing etc could be carried out using steam power. These steam engines, to be mobile on land without rail tracts have to be of lesser weight when compared to their locomotive cousins. Though many productive works could be carried out, they were slow in operations.
Invention of internal combustion engine further revolutionized the agricultural sector, first with the introduction of the petrol engine, and later diesel engine. Tractors powered by diesel became the mainstay of all agricultural operations. From basic tractors performing one operation at a time, combines were developed which are self-propelled and capable of carrying out two or more tasks. These combines, as they move cutting the grain stalks, they thresh and separate grains simultaneously.
The list of agricultural machinery being invented and used is ever expanding. Every year more and more sophisticated and hi tech items are being added to the list.
Many modern machinery are being used for the preparation of the land and the soil. Tillage is required for loosening the soil and killing/removing weeds and competing plants. Plows and tillers towed by tractors, offset discs, Subsoiler, Power tiller and chisels are used for preparing the soil. For planting of the crop various implements like seed drills, transplanters, seed spreaders and planters of root crop are being increasingly used.
Irrigation of the crop is being done with water-pumps, Center pivot irrigation and Drip irrigation. Production mechanisms of organic manure, chemical fertilizers and pesticides suitable to every crop type are being developed. The machinery for broadcasting fertilizers and pesticides are many and they include aerial spraying aircrafts.
Individual agricultural machinery for harvesting various types of crops have been developed. For example there are coffee bean Harvesters, beet harvesters, cane harvesters, bean harvesters, carrot harvesters, corn harvesters and cotton pickers. Again operations like crop processing, transporting, storage and refrigeration have been developed for individual crop requirement.
The other branches of agriculture like horticulture, animal husbandry, aquaculture and poultry have also seen great development and advancement in the machinery under use.
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