Agricultural engineering

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Agricultural engineering is the engineering of agricultural production and processing. Agricultural engineering combines the disciplines of mechanical, civil, electrical, Food science and chemical engineering principles with a knowledge of agricultural principles according to technological principles. A key goal of this discipline is to improve the efficacy and sustainability of agricultural practices.[1]


The first use of agricultural engineering was the introduction of irrigation in large scale agriculture. The practice would not expand until the industrial revolution.

With the rise of tractors and machines in the industrial revolution, a new age in Agricultural Engineering began. Over the course of the industrial revolution, mechanical harvesters and planters would replace field hands in most of the food and cash crop industries. In the 20th century, with the rise in reliable engines in airplanes, cropdusters were implemented to disperse pesticides. The introduction of these engineering concepts into the field of agriculture allowed for an enormous boost in the productivity of crops, dubbed a "second agricultural revolution".

In the late 20th century, Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) were created, giving another large boost to crop yields and resistance to pests.[2]


Agricultural engineers may engage in any of the following areas:

Crop processing and Storage which deals with post harvest handling of crops

Agricultural engineers[edit]

Agricultural engineers may perform tasks such as planning, supervising and managing the building of dairy effluent schemes, irrigation, drainage, flood water control systems, performing environmental impact assessments, agricultural product processing and interpret research results and implement relevant practices. A large percentage of agricultural engineers work in academia or for government agencies such as the United States Department of Agriculture or state agricultural extension services. Some are consultants, employed by private engineering firms, while others work in industry, for manufacturers of agricultural machinery, equipment, processing technology, and structures for housing livestock and storing crops. Agricultural engineers work in production, sales, management, research and development, or applied science.

In the United Kingdom the term Agricultural Engineer is often also used to describe a person that repairs or modifies agricultural equipment.

ASABE standards[edit]

The American Society of Agricultural Engineers, now known as the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), was founded in 1907.[3] It is a leading organization in the Agricultural Engineering field. The ASABE provides safety and regulatory standards for the agricultural industry. These standards and regulations are developed on an international scale and include topics on fertilizers, soil conditions, fisheries, biofuels, biogas, feed machinery, tractors, and machinery.[1]


The first curriculum in agricultural engineering was established at Iowa State University by J. B. Davidson in 1905.

Many universities have graduate programs dedicated to the study of agricultural engineering and bioengineering. These programs are important to the continuation of education and advancement in the field.[4]

Academic programs in agricultural and bio-systems engineering[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "ASABE". Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  2. ^ "ASABE 100 years of innovation" (PDF). ASABE.
  3. ^ "ASABE website". Archived from the original on 14 May 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
  4. ^ Peterson's (2011-05-01). Graduate Programs in Engineering & Applied Sciences 2011 (Grad 5). Peterson's. ISBN 978-0-7689-3091-7.

Further reading[edit]

  • Brown, R.H. (ed). (1988). CRC handbook of engineering in agriculture. Boca Raton, FL.: CRC Press. ISBN 0-8493-3860-3.
  • Field, H. L., Solie, J. B., & Roth, L. O. (2007). Introduction to agricultural engineering technology: a problem solving approach. New York: Springer. ISBN 0-387-36913-9.
  • Stewart, Robert E. (1979). Seven decades that changed America: a history of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, 1907-1977. St. Joseph, Mich.: ASAE. OCLC 5947727.
  • DeForest, S. S. (2007). The vision that cut drugery from farming forever. St. Joseph, Mich.: ASAE. ISBN 1-892769-61-1.

External links[edit]