A machine that can cut mature corn without shattering the ripe kernels at the top of its long slender stem, gather together and convey these stem heads-first into a threshing cylinder,
Human and animal powered mechanization systems (Figures 2 and 3) are described in detail in Human and Animal Powered Machinery, EOLSS on-line, 2002. The drudgery, long hours and low pay typically associated with these systems make rural life in the developing countries an unattractive career for young men and women.
For these reasons (environmental enhancement, sustainability) intensive research and development in renewable fuels (including oilseed oils and alcohols) continues and has lead to a small number of commercial applications in niche markets.
The future market for renewable fuel use is difficult to predict but will remain an active issue in the continuing debate on alternative fuels for vehicles including agricultural vehicles. Finally, the use of on-farm generated electricity, as opposed to that purchased from a utility, is discussed below (see also, Agriculture and Autonomous Power Supply).How the economics of such an approach evolve depends on the commitment of the international community to attain such sustainable and environmental goals. There has been a substantial global investment in agricultural mechanization and automation by governments, industry, farmers and international agencies. In general, the return on investment has been spectacular.
While much remains to be done on small farms in the poorest regions, sufficient progress has been made to accelerate food production in line with population growth (contrary to the Malthusian prediction). In this theme, farm machinery is considered with primary emphasis on engine and motor driven machines and implements and a lesser emphasis on human or animal powered equipment.