Since the first civilizations, people have known how to produce the food they’ve needed to feed themselves. However, creating the agriculture technology that allows us to produce mass quantities of food for others has been an evolving process that continues even today. Agriculture has evolved a great deal as new technologies have been introduced, allowing for food production at much higher rates even with fewer acres of arable land.
With the invention of many of the pieces of equipment used by today’s farmer, they have learned to work smarter not harder. The future of technology in the agriculture world will lead to more improvements in efficiency and productivity, giving Farmer Brown the edge he needs to maintain and exceed his current abilities to keep the community fed.
EARLY TIMES WITH FARMER BROWN – BACK BREAKING CHORES AND ALL
The earliest farmer had very primitive equipment that made food production a long and difficult process with few rewards. His first tool for harvesting grain was a long handled implement known as a scythe, although it was well engineered to harvest wheat and other grains it was also time consuming and rough on the back. Threshing was equally burdensome. Beating stalks of grain with a heavy stick to separate the grain from the chaff made farm work even more labor intensive than it is now. Farmers had to be physically fit to even survive this work. Finally, the grain was taken to the mill, brewery, or market depending on what the product was to be used for.
HEY FARMER BROWN, ARE WE THERE YET?
With the start of the Industrial Revolution, machines dramatically streamlined the process of growing, harvesting, and transporting produce offsetting the need for farmers to work so hard for their bounty. Today’s combines take the place of needing separate machines to do the harvesting and threshing. Headers harvest the wheat and drop it into a drum to be threshed. The chaff, or outer covering of the wheat grain, is discarded behind the combine to fertilize the land for future crops. A belt conveyor carries the grains to the bed of a following truck.
Irrigating practices rely heavily on machines such as pumps and automated sprinkler systems to provide water; airplanes called crop dusters greatly improve a farmer’s ability to deliver fertilizer and pesticides to large crops. Seeding the fields is a fairly easy task with the invention of the planter which evenly lays down seeds in rows two to three feet apart or by a drill that practically blankets the field with much more seed in one foot rows. Specialized belt conveyors make the job of sorting, shipping, and storing produce faster than ever.
THE FUTURE FOR FARMER BROWN – READY OR NOT
Current agricultural processes have done a wonderful job of feeding swelling populations even with shrinking arable farm land. But future challenges will test the limits of our farming prowess even more. And technology will have to rise to meet those challenges. Future tractors will be driverless, guided by GPS to efficiently plow fields without the need of human interaction. Satellite imaging will be able to use infrared light to determine where a field is most in need of watering. Computerized systems will then direct sprinkler systems to where they are needed. The result of all these technologies will be higher yield and more efficient use of farmland.
Food production has come a long way over the centuries, and is owed a great deal for our modern standard of living. With these and more future technologies, the agricultural industry will hopefully be able to keep up with world food requirements for an even faster growing population.