Thursday, September 29, 2022

The contribution of agricultural engineering

Agriculture is a unique biological field, despite the concept of the discipline being changed by engineering. “The farming, cultivation, and animal breeding of lands” is the definition of agriculture. A definition of engineering is “the design and production of equipment and machinery for the convenience of people.” The scientific discipline of combine agricultural engineering creates, designs, improves, and constructs machinery and equipment for the benefit of agricultural workers. Future farming will be easier thanks to a new device developed by an agricultural engineer employing cutting-edge scientific methods. Agricultural engineers help the agricultural industry flourish by developing and discovering useful instruments. The practise of applying engineering concepts to any procedure involved in the production of items with an agricultural basis and the management of our natural resources is known as agricultural engineering. The field focuses on the creation of labor-saving agricultural equipment, farm structures, irrigation and drainage systems, and methods for preserving and processing agricultural output into useable feed and fibre products. Thus, it is clear that agricultural engineering is not the same as tractorization, despite what many people mistakenly believe. Because the first engineering intervention heavily involved the use of tractors to reduce drudgery for a very long time, people have long believed that agricultural engineering is synonymous with tractorization.
Agricultural engineers need a wide range of knowledge and abilities to work efficiently in the diverse agricultural and agribusiness sectors. The agricultural engineer contributes to ecologically friendly, environmentally safe farming. They evaluate new technology and procedures for farming in order to boost yields, optimise land use, and save resources like fuel, water, fertiliser, pesticides, and seed. The engineer makes recommendations for measures to safeguard the wellbeing, safety, and security of agricultural goods, workers, and animals. Better methods are developed by agricultural engineers to minimise crop loss due to field damage during handling, sorting, packaging, and processing. Food and fibre storage is a significant sector of the agriculture economy. The agricultural engineer is responsible for organising the post-harvest heating, cooling, and ventilation systems. Agricultural engineers create techniques and machinery for clearing land, planting crops, and harvesting. They provide automation, accuracy, and “intelligence” through smart technologies to both new and old equipment. Microcomputers, controllers, artificial intelligence, and other software are integrated with sensors (including biosensors) to maximise efficiency, sustainability, and the dependability of our food, feed, fibre, and fuel economies. In addition to organising, managing, and supervising the construction of irrigation, drainage, flood, and water control systems, dairy effluent schemes, environmental impact analyses, processing agricultural products, and interpreting and applying research findings, agricultural engineers may also perform tasks like processing agricultural products.
Objective of Agricultural Engineering
Agricultural engineering aims to improve the farmer’s financial situation, provide him with a dignified work environment, and make food readily available to consumers in appropriate quantities and of sufficient quality whenever they need it. These objectives are pursued through one or more of the following:

  1. Reduction in agricultural hazards: The underlying causes of these dangers are discussed, and recommendations are made. The farmers’ labour is ensured to be fruitful by doing this.
  2. Reduction of drudgery in agricultural sectors: Agricultural engineering interventions strive to develop tools and equipment that can be used in agricultural activities to alleviate the burden on farmers.
  3. Ensuring the accessibility of agricultural products all year-round: Seasonal crops must be prepared and stored to meet demand throughout the year.
  4. Improvement of the quality of life for the farmer: Farm buildings, good farm roads, and other amenities are made possible by agricultural engineering.
    Options in Agricultural Engineering
    A wide range of specialty fields are included in agricultural engineering. Specialty fields change and are established when new problems, technologies, and information are discovered; many of these areas overlap with one or more others. Areas of specialization of Agricultural Engineering include:
  5. Farm Power and Machinery Engineering: This area of agricultural engineering focuses on the design, upkeep, and repairs of machinery and equipment, as well as the transportation and processing of biological materials. It also deals with various power units such water pumps, electric power production systems, small engines, etc.
  6. Structures and Environmental Engineering: This area focuses on the construction of agricultural infrastructure, such as farm buildings, access roads, animal housing, greenhouses, storage buildings, and water handling structures like dams and canals.
  7. Land and Water Resources Engineering: What happens to water after it hits the ground? This element relates to irrigation design and management, drainage, and erosion control, as well as the recommendation of excellent soil and water conservation measures. Utilizing this knowledge, it is possible to increase crop productivity, preserve soil, prevent erosion, and safeguard water quality.
  8. Agricultural Processing and Food Engineering: Over 40% of the output of different agricultural crops is squandered each year during storage and processing because the experts in crop processing and storage are not employed in the agro-industries. Therefore, the emphasis of this choice is on the design, construction, and maintenance of crop processing and storage equipment and systems. This specialty focuses on the processes and tools required to convert agricultural products into food. Agricultural engineering is currently going through important and major changes as a result of the global economic shocks. These adjustments are due to some new technologies. Some of these emerging technologies include information technology, biotechnology, environmental engineering, and renewable energy.
    Conclusion
    The practise of applying engineering concepts to any procedure involved in the production of items with an agricultural basis and the management of our natural resources is known as agricultural engineering. There is more to agricultural engineering than merely tractorization. The field of agricultural engineering was developed from other engineering specialties. Agricultural engineering seeks to accomplish a wide range of goals and has made a significant contribution to national economic growth in the areas of food production, employment opportunities, industrial development, sustainable agriculture, farmer quality of life, environmental management, natural resource conservation, rural infrastructural development, reduction of drudgery in agricultural work, food security, etc.
    Agricultural engineering is the cornerstone of agricultural progress, and its neglect could jeopardise a nation’s long-term viability. Most of the nations that have recently called out for aid are those where the agricultural system has failed either because of a drought, an insect invasion, or a lack of agricultural input. Interestingly, given the resources and difficulties, agricultural engineering as a profession could have prevented the majority of these issues. The occupation has excellent potential to address the majority of issues affecting agriculture, particularly in emerging nations.
    Dr. Laishram Kanta Singh
    SMS (SWCE/Agric. Engg)
    ICAR-Krishi Vigyan Kendra Imphal West
    ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Manipur Centre