Mechanical Engineering Uses In Agriculture
Dew is moistur which rises into the atmosphere during the day, and is afterwards deposited on the Earth in gentle drops during the night. The air, when heated during the day, is capable of holding a larger quantity of water in solution as vapor, than when cooled during the night, the low temperature of which causes some of the water to separate. The separated particles, uniting, form drops of dew. When the night is cloudy, the surfaces on which the dew would be deposited are not sufficiently cooled down for the purpose, since the clouds give back some of the heat whichbpassed off by radiation.
“The art of farming. From Egypt a knowledge of Agricukture extended to Greece, where it flourished 1,000 years before christ. Hesiod describes a plough consisting of a beam, a share, and handles. The Greek farmers composted with skill, and saved the materials for the compost with care. A high appreciation of agriculture seems to have been a fundamental idea among the early Romans. A tract of land was allotted to every citizen by the state itself, and each one was carefully restricted to the quantity granted. The Roman agriculturists whose works have come down to us are Cato, Varro, Virgil, Columella, Pliny, and Palladius. The difference of soils and their adaptation to particular crops were well understood, and manures were saved with care. Composts were made in suitable places, hollows being scraped out in the form of a bowl to receive the wash from house,nand properly protected from the heat of the Sun. But the inhabitants of the East were familiar with many mechanical appliances unknown to the Romans, and probably their agricultural systems were more complete.
In Britain, the Romans made many improvements during their 400 years of occupation; but the agriculture of the island was extremely [rude] even when they [Romans] left it, by far the greater part being covered with forests and marshes. Then the Saxons overran the country, subsisting mainly by the chase and by keeping cattle, sheep, and especially swine, which readily fatten on the mast of the oak and the beech. In general, the only grains raised were wheat, barley, and oats, and they had but small quantities of these. No hoed crops of edible vegetables were cultivated, and even to as late as the reign of Henry VIII. Queen Catherine was obliged to send to Flanders or Holland for salad. Neither Indian corn, potatoes, squashes, carrots, cabbages, nor turnips were known in England till after the beginning of the Sixteenth Century. From that time to the present, the gradual elevation of the middle and lower classes has continued, and agriculture has steady advanced.
The first work on agriculture published in England was the ‘Boke of Husbandry,’ in 1523, by Sir Anthony Fitzherbert. The advance in the Art and Science of agriculture in the United States during the last half dozen years has been remarkable, and has had a tremendous effect upon the nations prosperity. The total value of farm products in 1911 was $8,417,000,000, and the total value of farm products in 1910 was $8,694,000,000. The value of the products in 1909 was twelve and one half percent greater than that of 1908 nearly seventeen percent over 1907, and twenty-nine and one/half percent over 1906. This marked progress is due to a number of circumstances and conditions, chief priority, number one above all, of which are our [United States] great variety of soil and climate, superior intelligence of the American farmer, improved machinery and implements, scientific education in all branches of agriculture, and increased pride of occupation.
Among the chief improvements we may mention deep plowing and thorough draining. By the introduction of new or improved implements the labor necessary to the carry out of agricultural operations has been greatly diminished. Science, too, has been called in to act as the handmaid of art, and it is by the investigations of the chemist that agriculture has been put on a really scientific basis. The organization of plants, the primary elements of which they are composed, the food on which they live, and the constituents of soils, have all been investigated and most important results obtained, particularly in regard to manures and rotations. Artificial manures,in great variety, supply the elements wanted for plant growth, have come into common use, not only increasing the produce of lands previously cultivated, but extending the limits of cultivation itself.
An improvement in all kinds of stock is becoming morevand more general, feeding is conducted on more scientific principles, and improved varieties of plants used as field crops have been introduced. One of the recent innovations in the United States is the introduction of the system of ensilage for preserving fodder in a green state, which promisee to give valuable results, though it has hardly been tested long enough to decide as to its value. As a result of the new conditions, to be a thoroughly trained and competent agriculturist requires a special education, partly theoretical and partly practical. In particular, no scientific cultivator can now be ignorant of agricultural chemistry, which teaches the constituents of the various plants grown as crops, their relation to the various soils, the nature and function of different manures, etc.
In some countries there are now agricultural school or colleges supported by the state. In the United States nearly all the states have college, or departments of colleges, devoted to the teaching of agriculture and large allotments of public land have been made for their support. In Germany, such institutions are numerous and highly efficient. For teaching agriculture on practically model farms are commonly established. In many countries, too, there is a ministry of agriculture as one of the chief departments of government. The United States Department of Agriculture has achieved the foremost place in the world for its scientific work in practical husbandry and its stimulating influence.”
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