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Sources of Farm Power in the United States

Sources of Farm Power in the United States

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Context 1
... will there- fore fall (or grow more slowly), depending on the elasticity of final demand. Farmers mechanize, although they can seldom prevent some increase in their production cost. The best example of these trends comes from the United States after 1940. The use of tractors, combines, and other machines expanded at unprecedented rates (see table 2). Al- though labor input per acre or per animal had declined a little between 1915 and 1939, it fell sharply after 1940 (see table 5). Agricultural employment also fell substantially, both in absolute and relative terms, and labor was redeployed outside agriculture. The number of workers per farm was stable, while farm sizes grew rapidly from an average of 167 acres in 1950 to 401 acres in 1978. Europe went through equally dramatic changes after 1955. Cases 1 and 2 ...
Context 2
... in China (table 10) the number of threshers alone exceeded the combined total of tractors and power tillers, even in 1980. In all of Asia mechanical rice milling for large trade quantities had already been introduced in the late nineteenth Table 9. Pattern of Farm Mechanization in India (thousands) Year 1945 19S1 1956 1961 1966 1972 Draft animals 59,333 67,383 70,690 77,986 78,517 80,137 Persian wheel n.a. n.a. ...
Context 3
... total of tractors and power tillers, even in 1980. In all of Asia mechanical rice milling for large trade quantities had already been introduced in the late nineteenth Table 9. Pattern of Farm Mechanization in India (thousands) Year 1945 19S1 1956 1961 1966 1972 Draft animals 59,333 67,383 70,690 77,986 78,517 80,137 Persian wheel n.a. n.a. n.a . 600 680 638 Oil Pumps 12 83 123 230 471 1,558 Electric pumps 9 26 47 160 415 1,618 Tractors 5 9 21 31 54 148 Plows Bullock Wooden 27,306 31,796 36,142 38,372 39,880 39,294 Iron 487 931 1,376 2, century, usually based on steam and later on internal combustion en- gines. Smaller rice mills have swept across Asia since the 1950s; it is hard to find villages where rice is still pounded by hand. Thus mechanical milling is even more widespread than mechanical threshing. But where the green revolution raised wages and increased ...
Context 4
... husbandry shifts to new sources of power only after tillage, transport, threshing, and seeding have done so. Mexico (see table 12). In all these cases it is not labor saving which leads to their success, but the improvement in yields, the saving of seed, and the ease of interculture. ...

Citations

... Historical research shows that local manufacturers have played a key role in today's mechanized countries (e.g., Biggs & Justice, 2021;Binswanger, 1986;Daum et al., 2018). ...
... While not all of today's mechanized countries have started to manufacture large types of machinery such as combined harvesters and tractors, and attempting so may not be needed in today's globalized world, many have developed industries for "light manufacturing" such as tractor implements and processing technologies, which require more local adaptation (Biggs & Justice, 2015;Biggs & Justice, 2021;Binswanger, 1986;FAO & AUC, 2018). ...
... Compared to global actors, local manufacturers in the vicinity of farmers can be much better positioned to develop engineering solutions that are adapted to local agro-ecological conditions (Biggs & Justice, 2015;Biggs & Justice, 2021;Binswanger, 1986;FAO & AU, 2018;Mrema et al., 2018;Samarakoon, 2011). In Asia, where mechanization is more advanced than in Africa, vibrant local manufacturing markets have played a key role (Belton et al., 2021;Biggs & Justice, 2015;Diao et al., 2020). ...
Preprint
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Manufacturing can play a key role in sustained economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction in Africa. Agricultural machinery manufacturing can contribute to driving overall manufacturing, given the large number of gradually mechanizing African farms and the rapidly growing agro-food processing sector. But harnessing these potentials in today's globalized world requires manufacturers to compete with manufacturing powerhouses such as China and India. This paper examines the characteristics, opportunities, and challenges of local agricultural machinery manufacturers in Africa based on a survey among randomly chosen manufacturers (N=386) in Benin, Kenya, Mali, and Nigeria. To further explore the factors and actors being key to the success of manufacturers, the surveys were supplemented with two qualitative methods: 1) 45 net-maps, a participatory appraisal method to map the factors, actors, and bottlenecks affecting the enabling environment of local manufacturing; and 2) 97 key-informant interviews, a method that enables additional in-depth discussions from key stakeholders. These results show that local manufacturers have several comparative advantages, in particular, related to the ability to develop locally adapted machinery, an aspect that is of much higher importance related to agricultural manufacturing than other types of manufacturing. This resonates with the experiences of other world regions where vibrant markets for local machinery were key during agricultural mechanization. The results show that markets for local machinery have also emerged in Africa, driven by small but dedicated entrepreneurs. However, these manufacturers are held back by a range of challenges related to production factors such as finance, human resources, utilities, raw materials, production equipment, and the regulatory environment (i.e., import regulations, testing, and certification). The paper derives important new insights into how to ensure a supportive, enabling environment to help local manufacturers harness their comparative advantages and to make "Made in Africa" the first choice of African farmers and agro-food processors.
... Since mid-sixties, mechanization and overall technological improvements have massively increased agricultural production in India, transforming the nation from a situation of acute food shortage to food surplus economy (Singh, 2006). However, different countries may have different pathways to farm mechanization and thus, is an uneven process (Binswanger, 1986). The incidence of mechanization varies largely across regions or states in India (Biggs and Justice, 2011). ...
... Past policies in India emphasized on large equipment, although it was not appropriate for all farmers, especially the smallholders. Contrary to the general hypothesis that labor scarcity cannot be a driving force for mechanization in a country with a large proportion of labor (Binswanger, 1986), there is now evidences that increasing rural to urban migration is the major cause of labor shortage in peak agricultural seasons, increasing the scope for mechanization (Zhang et al., 2014). Increasing cost of manual labor and peak time labor shortages are the major reasons for using tractors, laser land leveler, and zero-tillage drill machines by farmers in Haryana and Punjab states of India (Aryal et al., 2015b;Aryal et al., 2015c). ...
Conference Paper
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Intensification of agriculture is crucial for food security in India, and farm mechanization offers a way to achieve it. However, farm mechanization depends on several factors, and thus, understanding those factors is crucial for enhancing its uptake to improve the farmers’ wellbeing and also, for designing appropriate policies. Using data collected from 1267 farm households of Haryana (626 households) and Bihar (641 households) states of India, this study assessed factors associated with the adoption of farm machineries, including irrigation pump, tractor, harvester, thresher, and other farm machines. Considering that farmers’ mostly use combinations of these machines in farm operations, we applied a multivariate probit model for the analysis. Results show that adoption decisions of these farm machines are interrelated and mostly complementary. Economic assets such as land, livestock, and improved output/input market, and credit accesses are positively associated with the likelihood to adopt farm machines. Farmers with off-farm income are more likely to adopt harvester and other machines compared to those without off-farm income, confirming that high opportunity costs of labor enhance the adoption of machinery. Another key finding is that machine ownership is not necessary for the adoption of any of these machines as farmers mostly hire these services, thus reducing the capital requirement for adoption and enhancing rural transformation. Therefore, promoting farm machinery hiring services and enhancing farmers access to credit are key areas of policy reform.
... Many of the machines now used to plant, weed, thin, prune, spray, or harvest vegetable, fruit, and nut crops around the globe were first designed and used in California. We surveyed the period from 1945 to 1980 to capture the full arc of mechanization processes and techno-optimism beliefs that peaked in the 1960s, beginning with the postwar genesis of intensive mechanization efforts (Binswanger 1986;Valdés 1994) and ending at a time when those efforts were largely dormant. 3 We collected over 1300 primary archival documents related to the mechanization of fruit, vegetable, and nut cultivation and harvest in California from industry newsletters, government reports, oral history transcripts, national media, and local newspapers. ...
Article
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FULL TEXT LINK, view-only: https://rdcu.be/cRvy0. Media outlets, industry researchers, and policy-makers are today busily extolling new robotic advances that promise to transform agriculture, bringing us ever closer to self-farming farms. Yet such techno-optimist discourse ignores the cautionary lessons of past attempts to mechanize farms. Adapting the Social Construction of Technology framework, we trace the history of efforts to replace human labor with machine labor on fruit, nut, and vegetable farms in California between 1945 and 1980—a place and time during which a post-WWII culture of faith in the beneficence of technoscience applications to agriculture reached an apex. The degree to which and forms whereby mechanization gains momentum hinges on whether, how, and among whom a technological frame for mimicking human capabilities and supplanting workers coalesces. These frames, we find, vary considerably across crops, reflecting complex interactions of biology, farmer and farm worker behavior, industry supply chains, agricultural research and development, financial flows, and beliefs about labor, race, gender, and immigration. To tease out these complex dynamics, we draw directly from archival evidence to follow the development of cultivation and harvest machines through four cases spanning a spectrum of outcomes—tomatoes, nuts, peaches, and lettuce. In comparing across these cases, we find that although agricultural engineers, scientists, and their boosters framed mechanization as a triumphal narrative of progress in ‘human vs. nature’ conflicts, this techno-optimist rhetoric camouflaged deeper ‘human vs. human’ conflicts, particularly among agribusiness, farmers, and farm workers. We conclude with several insights that this historical study brings to the study of agricultural automation today.
... In farm societies in which both large and small farmers were found, tractors were considered an essential pillar for expanding the cultivated area of large farms because hired farm labour represents a high proportion of their production cost. The economic use associated with a large machine such as a tractor has made agricultural mechanization more attractive technology to such farms (Binswanger 1986). As a result, the first tractor owners in most developing countries are typically larger farmers, who also provide hiring services to non-owners when it helps them maximize their tractors' utilization (Daio et al., 2016). ...
Article
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The present study seeks to investigate the adoption of agricultural mechanization by rainfed small-scale farmers, in Gedarif State, Sudan. A field survey was used to collect data from 100 rainfed small-scale farmers, in Gedarif State, Sudan. A close-ended questionnaire was constructed and the personal interview technique was used to administer the questionnaire. The collected data were coded, fed to the computer, statistically analyzed using (SPSS), discussed and interpreted using descriptive statistics and the chi-square test. Using the descriptive statistics the results showed that the majority of farmers (98%) used tractor sizes 75-125, the majority of them (87%) used wide level disk (WLD), the majority of them (85%) their time of tillaging preparation is June-July, the majority of them (94%) used WLD as a row planter, the majority of them (96%) used the semi-mechanical weeding, (58%) of them used the manual harvest and the majority of them (77%) reported that they renting the machines from other farmers. Chi-square test result revealed that there was no significant association between the adoption of tractor sizes used, adoption of the type of agriculture equipment used for land preparation, adoption of time of tillaging, adoption of the type of seeders used, adoption of the type of weeding used, adoption of harvest type and farmers adoption of kind of machine ownership and farmers': Age group, education level, and farm size. From this study, it can be concluded that the farmers are not adopting the complete package of the recommended agricultural mechanization in the study area. The study recommends that determinants facing farmers in this subsector should be solved.
... The mechanization of land preparation is typically the first step of farm mechanization, making necessary the use of solutions pulling equipment such as plows, harrows, and rippers (Binswanger, 1986). The efforts of governments and development partners to promote farm mechanization are backed up by evidence from several African countries highlighting how labor constraints increasingly undermine agricultural land and labor productivity (Baudron et al., 2015;Baudron et al., 2019;Diao et al., 2014;Silva et al., 2019;Sims & Kienzle, 2006) and how mechanized farmers can raise land and labor productivity (e.g., Adu-Baffour et al., 2019;Kirui, 2019;Mano et al., 2020). ...
... Animal traction requires farmers to have enough pastures (or land for forage production), as well as sufficient water at all times, or else animals, suffer, become less productive, or even die. In areas where ample grazing land and water are available, the purchase and maintenance costs for animal traction are lower compared to purchasing and maintaining tractors (Binswanger, 1986;Diao et al., 2020;Pearson and Vall, 1998). In contrast, two-wheel and four-wheel tractors appear to be the best option for farmers where animal traction is constrained by a lack of pastures and sufficient water. ...
Article
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There are heavy - at times dogmatic - debates on which technological pathway toward farm mechanization-animal traction, two-wheel tractors, four-wheel tractors-should be supported by African governments and development partners. One discussion area relates to the future of animal traction. Proponents see a continued scope for the use of draught animals, whereas opponents see animal traction as old-fashioned and see a potential to leapfrog this mechanization stage. There are also debates on the potential of two-wheel tractors, with proponents arguing that such walk-behind tractors are more affordable and suitable for smallholder farmers, and opponents believing that such tractors lack efficiency and power and still come with a high drudgery. This paper argues that there are no blueprint answers on which technological pathway is "best" but only answers on which one "best fits" the respective conditions. Based on this premise, the paper introduces a "best fit" framework that allows for assessing the comparative advantages and disadvantages of the three technological pathways in different agro-ecological and socioeconomic conditions. The results suggest that all three forms of mechanization are associated with areas where they "best fit". All three farm mechanization pathways hinge on public policies and investments to create an enabling environment for private markets, as ultimately, innovation processes should be market-driven. The "best-fit" framework enables governments and development partners to focus efforts to support farm mechanization on solutions that "best fit" their country's farming systems and not on those that are politically most attractive.
... Many studies on agricultural technologies adoption have concentrated on the mechanization of developing countries. Binswanger (1986) discussed the history and the significant reasons for automation in developing countries. He showed that large farms adopt new forms of machinery faster than small farms. ...
Thesis
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Technology in agriculture is exponentially growing. Introducing farming machinery has made life easier for farmers, allowed them to substitute human labor with machinery, and increased their productivity. In developed countries, farmers are replacing traditional hand tools for machinery for many reasons. This study's first goal was to examine if farm size influenced farmers' decisions between using machinery or hand tools and, second, to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on farmers' labor management. Semi-structured interviews with two agricultural support agents and four farmers were used as primary data. Each interview was conducted online via Zoom meeting, transcribed, coded, categorized, and analyzed following the qualitative research method procedures. The results showed that small vegetable farmers are more likely to use hand tools compared to large-scale farmers. This study presented new factors that impact farmers' decisions in using hand tools or machinery. Farm structure, farming methods (organic, pesticide-free, GAP), and financial constraints also influenced farmers' decisions between using machinery or hand tools. The COVD-19 pandemic caused many challenges and opportunities for farmers. The major challenge it caused was changing farmers' marketing sales techniques. The significant opportunity was that it helped farmers develop an online presence. This pandemic has taught farmers new management practices.
... Similarly, scale appropriate mechanization, where "machines are adapted to farm size and not the opposite" (Baudron et al., 2015, p. 154) and institutional solutions for smallholder farmers can ensure that mechanization does not artificially trigger structural transformation. Regarding employment effects, research has shown that effects depend on the type of and the context in which mechanization unfolds (Binswanger, 1986). Irrigation, for example, often raises the demand for labour because yields increase. ...
Chapter
The chapter discusses the role of agricultural mechanization for the sustainble transformation of African agri-food systems.
... Studying such linkages may be complex because of several reasons as the following aspects related to mechanization show. 1) There can be a seasonal effect: Mechanizing one farming step may have implications on subsequent farming steps. For example, if only land preparation is mechanized, which is common during early mechanization (Binswanger, 1986), farmers may cultivate more land, thereby increasing the workload for weeding and harvesting (Daum & Birner, 2020). Mechanized land preparation may, however, also reduce weed growth (Baudron et al., 2019), which would reduce the time and energy requirements for weeding. ...
... Daily random checks and validation with 24-h recall questions suggest a high data quality . In this paper, the focus is on land preparation, weeding, and harvesting/processing, which are considered the most labor-intensive farming steps (Binswanger, 1986). Table 2 provides an overview of the data days collected. ...
Article
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In the quest to reduce global under-and malnutrition, which are particularly high among smallholder farmers, agriculture-nutrition linkages are receiving increasing attention. Researchers have analyzed the link between the quantity and diversity of food that farmers produce and nutritional outcomes but paid limited attention to a third agriculture-nutrition link: the link between how food is produced and nutritional outcomes. This neglect persists despite the majority of smallholder farmers relying on hand tools for farming, which implies heavy physical work and, thus, high energy requirements. To address this research gap, this study compares the energy requirements of farm households in rural Zambia that are characterized by three different levels of mechanization: hand tools, animal drought power, and tractors. 1638 days of detailed time-use and nutrition data were collected from 186 male and female adults and boys and girls during different seasons (land preparation , weeding, and harvesting/processing) using an innovative picture-based smartphone app called "Timetracker". This data served to calculate different proxies for physical activity and energy requirements using "Ainsworth's Compendium of Physical Activities". The results suggest that detailed time-use data offers great potentials to study physical activity and energy requirements. The findings show strong linkages between farm technologies, physical activity levels, and energy requirements, suggesting that this agriculture-nutrition link deserves more scientific and political attention to reduce under-and malnutrition among smallholder farmers.
... The impact of agriculture on landscape formation processes increased at an enormous scale from the 1950s onwards because of large-scale mechanization of agricultural practices (Binswanger 1986;Kienzle et al. 2013;van Zanten et al. 2014). Since then, tillage erosion has increased conspicuously, becoming dominant over natural water erosion (Van Oost et al. 2005) and leading to a heavy negative impact on archaeological heritage. ...
... In policies supporting agricultural mechanisation in Africa, the state has historically been biased towards tractors (Binswanger 1986;Houmy et al. 2013). Recently, South-South cooperation, involving China, Brazil, India and other 'rising powers', has played a part in driving tractor-focused mechanisation (Cabral et al. 2016;Cabral et al. 2013), including in Zimbabwe (Mukwereza 2015;Shonhe 2019a). ...
Article
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This article explores whether mechanisation affects patterns of accumulation and differentiation in Zimbabwe's post land reform where policy consistently disadvantages smallholders. Is the latest mechanisation wave any different? The article considers dynamics of tractor access and accumulation trajectories across and within land use types in Mvurwi area. Larger, richer and well-connected farmers draw on patronage networks to access tractors and accumulate further. Some small to medium-scale farmers generate surpluses and invest in tractors or pay for services. Thus, accumulation from above and below feeds social differentiation. Tractor access remains constrained yet mechanisation is only part of the wider post-2000 story.