What Is Farm Mechanization?

Martin Pettitt/CC-BY 2.0

Farm mechanization refers to the development and use of machines that can take the place of human and animal power in agricultural processes. The mechanization of agriculture that took place during the 20th century led to major changes in how farmers plant, irrigate and harvest crops. Combines, tractors, harvesters and other machinery have enabled farmers to increase their production while relying less upon an extended labor force.

Large air-conditioned combines and tractors can work vast areas of farmland in a much shorter period of time than an unaided crew of farm workers. Although the advantages of owning such equipment are clear, many of the smaller farming operations can find it difficult to keep up with the high cost of advancing agricultural technology. Current developments in farm equipment point to future innovations, which may include GPS-directed driverless farm machines, computer monitoring systems and sensory devices to allocate seed, fuel, and fertilizer more precisely and efficiently.