Agricultural machinery is machinery used in the operation of an agricultural area or farm. The basic technology of agricultural machines has changed little in the last century. Agriculture may be one of the oldest professions, but the development and use of machinery has made the job title of farmer a rarity.
Agricultural technologies can help reduce poverty through direct and indirect eﬀects. The direct eﬀects of technology on poverty reduction include productivity gains and lower per unit costs of production, which can raise incomes of producers that adopt technology. There are also a number of higher-order (indirect) beneﬁts from technology adoption: depending on the elasticity of demand, outward shifts in supply can lower food prices; and increased productivity may stimulate the demand for labor.
By the latter part of the 19th century farmers had learned to diversify their crop production and to raise livestock for profit. Iowa farmers had learned the value in planting corn and feeding it to fatten their livestock. Advances in farm machinery production also changed the way farmers worked; they were able to cover more land at a faster pace; and as manufacturers added seats to farm machinery, farmers found some relief from their backbreaking labors.
In the past century, there have been tremendous changes in American agriculture. Farmers have become extremely efficient and have taken advantage of newer technologies, and as a result, they are producing a wider variety of crops and producing them more efficiently. In 1935, there were 6.8 million farms in the United States, and the average farmer produced enough food each year to feed 20 people; in 2002, the number of farms was estimated to be 2.16 million, and the average U.S. farmer produced enough food to feed almost 130 people.
The agricultural technology encompassing intensive cultivation, high use of agro-chemicals, greater requirement of water and rapid growth of mechanization has resulted in manifestations of several adverse effects on environment, especially hydrological imbalance and ever increasing cost of production. In view of increasing input use, the scientists are now more serious than ever before to evolve new low cost/resource conservative technologies like zero tillage, reduced tillage, and strip tillage etc. for timely sowing, crop stubble management, reduction in cost of production and maintenance of soil health. Surveys have shown that sowing of wheat after rice is often delayed because of the number of tillage operations needed for good seedbed preparation.
Digital agriculture is an advanced combination of agricultural science, modern computer technology, network communication and spatial information technology, and the combination will become agricultural development's new pattern in the 21st century. The essence of Digital agriculture is to utilize the digitization of each kind of process in every aspect of agriculture (including crop production, animal husbandry, aquatic products industry, forestry) by using Information Technology.
Geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) provide detailed information about land and water, creating layered maps of ground soil and water systems. Farmers use this information to analyze water and soil, and to determine what crops will grow best on their land; they can also determine water purity and contamination levels, enhance nutritional impact, and determine pest control. The result: precision farming that boosts food production, builds alternative crop and livestock systems, manages chemical runoff, and strengthens natural resources.
From a machinery viewpoint, precision agricultural technologies can probably be summed up as the integration of electronics into agricultural equipment. This includes control systems such as rate controllers, automatic boom control, and automatic steering systems. Most systems are based on GPS technology for positioning and incorporate multiple sensors.
Research shows that it takes about eight years from the time public research funds are invested in technology development to the time the technology is first implemented. In the agricultural sector it can take as long as 15 years before full adoption by stakeholders occurs. Because many technologies in the agricultural world become obsolete in 15 years, it becomes increasingly important to find ways to move technology more rapidly from research to adoption.
Development and adoption of agricultural technologies are overlapping processes. A newly developed variety is refined and modified to better reflect the demands of end-users (farmers) or intermediate users (national agriculture agencies and institutes). Social scientists play the role of marketing specialists in facilitating adoption: first, in determining what it is that consumers (farmers or agencies or both) want; second, in monitoring consumer response to a newly introduced technology; and third, in identifying constraints to technology adoption.
Agriculture technology is based on the scientific researches of experts and botanist who have guided the path to the modernization. Also it is all due to new technologies that are awaking farmers to cultivate new crops like bio diesel apart from the traditional horticulture and crops ultimately making farmers rich. The tardiest pesticides including chemical and organic are result of the upgrading agriculture technology, and the agriculture technological enhancements have compelled the retail sector to join the agriculture sector.