Post harvest and Food Technology

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Harvesting

In agriculture, the harvest is the processes of gathering mature crops from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper. The harvest marks the end of the growing season, or the growing cycle for a particular crop, and this is the focus of seasonal celebrations of many religions. On smaller farms with minimal mechanization, harvesting is the most labor-intensive activity of the growing season. On large, mechanized farms, harvesting utilizes the most expensive and sophisticated farm machinery, like the combine harvester. Harvesting in general usage includes an immediate post-harvest handling, all of the actions taken immediately after removing the crop cooling, sorting, cleaning, packing-up to the point of further on-farm processing, or shipping to the wholesale or consumer market. Harvest timing is a critical decision that balances the likely weather conditions with the degree of crop maturity. Weather conditions such as frost, rain (resulting in a "wet harvest"), and unseasonably warm or cold periods can affect yield and quality. An earlier harvest date may avoid damaging conditions, but result in poorer yield and quality. Delaying harvest may result in a better harvest, but increases the risk of weather problems. Timing of the harvest often amounts to a significant gamble.

Packaging

Packaging is the science, art and technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. Packaging also refers to the process of design, evaluation, and production of packages. Packaging can be described as a coordinated system of preparing goods for transport, warehousing, logistics, sale, and end use. Packaging contains, protects, preserves, transports, informs, and sells. It is fully integrated into government, business, institutional, industry, and personal use.

Food Technology

Farm Machinery

Agriculture machines

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.

Tools

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

Agriculture engineering

Introduction

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.

Purpose

  • 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.