The importance of agriculture can not be overemphasized. Apart from agriculture being the major source of meeting the basic needs of man (food, shelter and clothes), agriculture is a reliable source of raw materials for various industries. Going by the history of agriculture one can understand that agriculture has developed over time due to various factors among which are the increased knowledge acquired from agricultural education which has helped to increase agricultural techniques involving the use of agricultural machinery or farm machinery in what is either termed agricultural mechanization or farm mechanization as the case may be since there are some differences between agriculture and farming. Agricultural equipment are used in the production of agricultural products irrespective of whether the agro products is from plants or animals.
Traditional methods of agriculture or farming are known for the use of crude farm implements unlike now that modern agricultural activities now make use of agricultural machines or farm machines in agriculture. Nowadays, the use of agricultural implements has helped increased farm efficiency in terms of production of high quality agro produce as well large quantities of agricultural produce.
Agricultural mechanization or farm mechanization means the use of agricultural equipment or farm equipment before, during and after agricultural or farming processes. The types of agricultural equipment or farm equipment used in agriculture or farming varies. These equipment used in agriculture or farms involves various stages of agriculture. Some of them are used before, during and after the agriculture or farm process. The ones used before the agricultural or farming processes are used in the farming or agricultural preparation stage like soil cultivation. The ones used during the farming or agricultural processes are used in the main agricultural or farming stage proper like the planting of crops, rearing of animals, application of agrochemicals ( agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, etc) or even the harvesting of agricultural products. Then the ones used after the farming or agricultural processes are known to be used after those used during the main agricultural or farming stage. In other words, they are farming equipment or agricultural equipment used after the second stage of agricultural processes.Simply put, they are the agricultural equipment used after harvesting and can be termed agricultural post-harvest equipment or machinery.
The difference between farm tools and farm equipment is that most farm tools are smaller and so handy, less weighty and less bulky. They don’t require much technical know-how to handle compared to farm equipment. Farm tools are cheaper and easier to maintain. Typical examples of farm tools are matchet (cutlass), hoe, shovel, spade, etc. On the other hand, farm machinery are mainly bigger, bulky and so they are more weighty than most farm tools. The operation of farm machinery requires much technical know-how unlike farm tools. Agricultural equipment are more expensive and difficult to maintain. Farm equipment are mostly attached to tractors. Thus apart from tractor being a typical farm equipment other farm equipment are plough (plow), harrow, etc
As started earlier, different farm or agricultural equipment are used in various agricultural stages which are therefore part of the basis on which agricultural machinery are classified. Farm equipment classification or agricultural equipment classification are as follows.
1. Agricultural equipment used as power: An example is tractor
2. Agricultural equipment used for soil cultivation: Examples are cultivators, plows (ploughs), harrows, rollers, soil tillers, destoners, etc.
3. Agricultural equipment used during planting: Planters, transplanters, broadcast seeder, air seeder, seed drill, precision drill, etc.
4. Agricultural equipment used for spreading fertilizers or spraying other agrochemicals: Examples are sprayers, fertilizer spreader, manure spreaders, etc. These are mainly used for application of fertilizers and pest control.
5. Agricultural equipment used for irrigation: Examples are irrigators used for drip irrigation or centre pivot irrigation as well as hydroponics, etc.
6. Agricultural equipment used for sorting agricultural products according to colour, size, taste, weight, density, etc. These includes colour sorters, density sorters, weight sorters, blemish sorters, shape sorters, etc.
7. Agricultural equipment used for harvesting and those used after harvesting: Typical examples are the various types of harvesters and post-harvesters such as combined harvesters, tractors, fanning mills, threshers, reapers, farm trucks, sugarcane harvesters, cotton picker, rice harvesters, cotton harvesters, wagon, forage harvester, mowers, corn harvesters, etc.
8. Agricultural equipment used in making hays such as balers, mowers, hay tedder and hay rake, etc.
9. Agricultural equipment used for loading agricultural products: Examples are loaders such as backhoe loaders, front-end loaders, etc.
10. Agricultural equipment used for milking: Milking machine is a typical example.
11. Other farm equipment are carts, hedge cutters, livestock trailers, mulching machines, trimmers, etc.
In a nutshell, apart from knowing the meaning of agricultural machinery or meaning of agricultural equipment which are used interchangeably with farm machinery or farm equipment in what is termed agricultural mechanization or farm mechanization one have the opportunity to sell agricultural equipment, buy agricultural equipment, export agricultural equipment, import agricultural equipment, sell farm equipment, buy farm equipment, export farm equipment, import farm equipment, sell agricultural machinery, buy agricultural machinery, export agricultural machinery, import agricultural machinery, sell farm machinery, buy farm machinery, export farm machinery or import farm machinery.
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