Agricultural machinery is machinery used in the operation of an agricultural area or farm. Power for agricultural machinery was originally supplied by horses or other domesticated animals. With the invention of steam power came the portable engine and later the traction engine, a multipurpose, mobile energy source that was the ground-crawling cousin to the steam locomotive. Agricultural steam engines took over the heavy pulling work of horses, and were also equipped with a pulley that could power stationary machines via the use of a long belt. Though modern harvesters and planters will do a better job than their predecessors, the combine of today still cuts, threshes, and separates grain in essentially the same way it has always been done.
There are a number of appropriate technology principles that specifically concern agricultural tools. Appropriate agricultural tools and equipment should contribute to the broad objective of increasing the viability of the small farm. Where small farmers are currently employing traditional technologies that are inefficient, they often cannot improve this technology because of the leap in scale and capital cost to commercially available equipment. It is therefore the goal of intermediate technology proponents to help fill this gap with good quality tools and equipment that are affordable and suited to the scale of operations of the small farmers. There is a tendency for equipment development and commercial firms to concentrate their energies on tools that are affordable only to the wealthier farmers. This happens in part because of a focus on what technically could be done, without attention to financial constraints faced by the typical small farmer. Contributing factors include the inappropriate application of industrialized, extensive farming strategies to small intensive farming communities, and the failure to include the small farmer in the process of identifying helpful new technologies that can truly fit into the existing farming system. The degree of concentration of land ownership is a key factor in determining if there are opportunities available for appropriate technology strategies in a community. Agricultural technologies developed with and for the smallest farmer can certainly strengthen the viability of their farms. But if most families have no land at all, land reform and the establishment of rural industries may be far more important steps in a positive community development program than
Agricultural engineering is the engineering discipline that applies engineering science and technology to agricultural production and processing. Agricultural engineering combines the disciplines of animal biology, plant biology, and mechanical, civil and chemical engineering principles with a knowledge of agricultural principles.
- The design of agricultural machinery, equipment, and agricultural structures
- Crop production, including seeding, tillage, irrigation and the conservation of soil and water
- Animal production, including the care and processing of poultry and fish and dairy management
- The processing of food and other agricultural and biorenewable products, and food engineering.
- Bioresource engineering, which uses machines and nanobots on the molecular level to help the environment.
Agricultural Engineers may perform tasks as planning, supervising and managing the building of dairy effluent schemes, irrigation, drainage, flood and water control systems, perform environmental impact assessments, agricultural product processing and interpret research results and implement relevant practices. Some are consultants, employed by private engineering firms, while others work in industry, for manufacturers of agricultural machinery, equipment, processing technology, and structures for housing livestock and storing crops. Agricultural engineers work in production, sales, management, research and development, or applied science.
Farm Machinery Research Centre
Farm Mechanization Research Centre (FMRC)
FMRC is vested with the responsibility of testing and implements and to develop appropriate technologies to suit local conditions. The prime objective of FMRC is to introduce effective agricultural mechanization technologies compatible with the socio-economic and field condition prevailing in various regions of country. In order to achieve this objective FMRC is carrying out activities in the following areas.
Farm Mechanization Research Centre (FMRC), Maha Illuppallama is an Iinstitute of the Department of Agriculture located within the agricultural complex, Maha Illuppallama about 35 km South West of Anuradhapura. It is a Government organization setup to promote appropriate farm mechanization in Sri Lanka.
To become the center of excellence in the country by introducing appropriate farm mechanization technology to reduce cost of production and improve quality and quantity of agricultural production.
Promote cost effective Mechanization technology in order to increase quality and quantity of Agricultural products.
- To create production efficiency by mechanizing areas affected by labor shortage in the Farm and processing.
- To attract youth to agricultural enterprises.
- To generate agro-based employment opportunities by production and utilization of Agricultural machines.
- To Implement appropriate Agricultural machineries to local conditions and production methods and ensuring continuous supply to market through an efficient production processes.
The Functions of FMRC
- Identify constrains and bottlenecks of agricultural mechanization in the various regions and for differenet crops grown by Sri Lanakan farmers.
- Select and test promising implements with regard to their constructions, their functions, safety, economic and sociological consequence.
- Modify and adapt promising implements to suit local conditions.
- Test adapted implements under farmers' conditions
- Prepare technical drawings, test reports and operators' instructions for the implements found suitable for Sri lankan conditions.
- Engage in industrial extension activities to promote local production by large and small scale manufacturers.
- Engage in agricultural extension activities through the extension services of the Department of Agriculture to familarize farmers with the new improved techniques.
- FMRC is the National institute for Regional Net Work for Agricultural Machinery of ESCAPE and the secretariate for the National Farm Mechanization Commitie.
Farm Mechanization Training Centre
Location: Anuradhapura The farm mechanization training centre situated at Puliyankulama, Anuradhapura is the primary institution for training in farm machinery in Sri Lanka.It was established in mid 70s with the assistance of Germany.It provides training in operation and maintenance of farm machinery, micro-irrigation, and so on to extension officers, farmers, university students, and employees of private sector and non-governmental organizations.Residential facilities are available for trainees at this canter. An assistant director heads this unit and programmes are conducted by training officers.Training programmes can be arranged at this unit with the consultation of assistant director in-charge.