What Is Agricultural Engineering?

agricultural engineering
Agri. Education

What Is Agricultural Engineering?

Agricultural engineering deals with application of engineering, science and technology to the production and processing of agriculture produce. Agricultural engineering combines different disciplines; animal biology, mechanical, civil, electrical, plant biology and chemical engineering.

Being an agricultural engineer requires you to come up with ways to conserve soil and water while working for the improvement of processes related to agricultural products. As an agricultural engineer, you will also be required to build comfortable housing for animals and will be required to collaborate with contractors and clients.

Agricultural Engineering Sub Disciplines

There are variety of options in the Agricultural field and for the effective management. Agricultural Engineering degree programme is divided into sub disciplines such as 

1. Farm Machinery and Power Engineering

2. Soil and Water Conservation Engineering

3. Irrigation and Drainage Engineering

4. Post Harvest Systems Engineering

5. Farm Structures and Environmental Engineering

Objectives of Agricultural Engineering

The overall objectives of Agricultural Engineering is to provide a conducive working environment for the farmer and assure him that there is dignity in farming, improve his economic situation and make food available in adequate quantity and quality at the right time of need and at a reasonable cost to consumers. Some of the achieved objectives are:

1. Reduction in farm hazards : The causes of these hazards are identified and solutions are given. This ensures that the farmer’s labor is not in vain. 

2. Reduction of drudgery in agricultural operations:  Agricultural engineering intervention is to develop machines and equipment that can be used in performing agricultural operations to reduce stress on farmers.

3. Ensuring the availability of agricultural products all year-round, processing helps increasing their lifespan.

4. To meet all year round demand of seasonal crops, they have to be processed and stored. Structures for long – term storage have to be built.

5. Operations and management of food processing machines such as rice mills, flour mills, vegetable oil processing outfits, beverages and biscuit manufacturing, bread, and other confectioneries. 

6.  Low cost of production with increased productivity and reducing labor, energy cost, and proper planning.

7. Agricultural engineering provides conveniences on the farm, such conveniences include farmhouses, good farm roads, farm structures & dairy barns etc.

Challenges in front of Agricultural Engineer :

While it might seem like a glamorous and exciting profession but, it’s no wonder the challenges are endless: crops need to grow in diverse environments, and there are endless combinations of weather conditions, seeds, and fertilizers.

Some of these challenges are :

1. In irrigated areas, the challenges lie in improved farm irrigation efficiency by reducing irrigation water losses. The water table is going alarmingly down due to indiscriminate use of irrigation water by tube-well and minor irrigation which is also damaging soil conditions. Suitable water management practices are required in the areas.

2. There is also a need to develop improved tools and implements for horticulture crops and agricultural products.

3. The present level of agriculture mechanization in India is utilizing only 0.8 hp per ha power which requires to be raised, at least to a level of 0.9 hp per ha.

4. The greatest challenge for the technologists, engineers, and scientists for the 20 years lies in the area-based surveys, the technology of crops related to fruits, vegetables, and their by-products. Proper methods of food preservation, processing packaging, marketing need to be developed for enhanced shelf-life and better return. It has also great potential for increased farm production and generating rural income.

5.   There is also a need to develop specific crops and appropriate post-harvest technology in India , technically feasible and economically viable to the existing technology.

Scope of Agricultural Engineering :

Agriculture has been in practice for thousands of years, and for most of that time, it was synonymous with farming. The Industrial Revolution and the Green Revolution, plus improvements in farming technology, have allowed for a great increase in the amount of food grown for consumption, and the number of people who can be fed. Some of the most important developments have been in agricultural engineering, because it is here that we have truly begun to understand how our planet works and how we can manipulate it to get what we want. Communication skills, Problem-solving skills & analytical skills helps you to get more out of it in variety of projects related to agricultural modernization.

The scope of Agricultural Engineering is to increase productivity, reduce the cost of production, and improve the quality of agricultural commodities through the contributions of science, technology and engineering. It encompasses activities related to the design, construction, and operation of farm equipment, buildings, and processing plants. These activities are accomplished using machinery, computers, and communication and information technologies. Because agricultural engineering is an engineering discipline, it has its own terminology, and uses its own design, analysis, and decision-making tools. In order to understand agricultural engineering, a person must first learn about plant and animal sciences, soil science, mechanics, electronics, environmental sciences, economics, and other disciplines.

B.Tech Agricultural Engineering graduates have career opportunities in various government services, Food Corporation of India, Nestle India, Rural Construction Projects, Energy Park, Positions in various Agricultural Universities, National Agricultural Development Projects, National Dairy Development Board, Agricultural Production Systems, Posts as Agricultural Inspector, Entry-Level Jobs in various department of Agriculture and allied services.

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