Mechanization was one of the major factors responsible for urbanization and industrial economies. Besides improving production efficiency, mechanization encourages large scale production and sometimes can improve the quality of farm produce. Mechanized farming is the process of using agricultural machinery to mechanize the work of agriculture, thereby greatly increasing farm worker productivity.
Agricultural mechanization implies the use of various power sources and improved farm tools and equipment, with a view to reduce the drudgery of the human beings and draught animals, enhance the cropping intensity, precision and timeliness of efficiency of utilization of various crop inputs and reduce the losses at different stages of crop production. The end objective of farm mechanization is to enhance the overall productivity and production with the lowest cost of production. The contribution of agricultural mechanization has been well recognized in enhancing the production together with irrigation, biological and chemical inputs of high yielding seed varieties, fertilizers, pesticides, and mechanical energy.
Over the years, mechanization has greatly increased productivity in the agricultural sector. Before the advent of mechanization, farmers relied on manual labor for weeding and control of pests. This has changed over the years, there is a wide range of agrochemicals (pesticides and herbicides) available for controlling pests and weeds. These agrochemicals can be either general purposed or selective (designed for a particular group of weed/pest). The farmer can have these agrochemicals sprayed on the crops/weed with other mechanized tools such as spraying pump or in the case of a wide expanse of land a sprayer mounted on an airborne device. Certain weather conditions encourage the development and growth of pests and diseases, which can destroy crops. Forecast guidance incorporated into pest and disease modeling helps to determine the appropriate time to apply pest or disease controls. Wind forecasts also play a role in this decision, as crop dusters, aircraft that spray fungicidal or insecticidal chemicals on plants from above, must be utilized when wind conditions are not apt to cause sprayed chemicals to miss their targets.
One of the many decisions that farmers have to make is determining the proper time to apply fertilizer, as well as the application rate and fertilizer form to use. A misapplied application caused by weather can wipe away the entire field’s profits. Weather forecasts can be used to ensure that fertilizer is applied in the right conditions--when it’s dry enough so that it doesn’t wash away (which would create a waste of resources and money) but moist enough so that it gets worked into the soil. Land loses fertility over time and this has been a big problem for farmers. Crop rotation, leaving the land to lay fallow and application of manure have been the main solutions to the problem of fertility. Mechanization has solved this problem with the production of fertilizers. Fertilizers of different content (NPK – Nitrogen, Phosphorus & Potassium, Urea, etc.) are produced, mixed in different ratios to satisfy soil pH, soil fertility and requirements of the crops planted. This has really helped farmers as there are almost no virgin lands to plant on.
Crop growth requires appropriate amounts of moisture, light, and temperature. Detailed and accurate historical, real-time weather information can help farmers better understand and track the growth status/stage to make informed decisions. Having access to this data can guide farmers in making significant and potentially costly decisions, such as whether, when and how much to irrigate. Cultivation of these lands was also a problem in the early years, this was done with manual labor or oxen. Today, there is an array of tractors and different plows used for cultivation as well as planters for planting seeds and harvesters which can harvest quicker and more efficiently than humans. Shelling of beans and paddy, as well as the processing of other farm products and produce, can be done efficiently today.
Accurate field-level weather information can help farmers assess the workability of their fields and become more efficient in their day-to-day operations. Field workability refers to the availability of days that are suitable for fieldwork. It’s primarily dependent upon soil moisture and soil temperature.
In view of all this, mechanization has gone a long way in improving the quantity and quality of farm products and produce. There are new innovations every day all trying to push the productivity of farmers. It is only safe to say that mechanized farming is the solution to most of the problems faced by farmers in Nigeria and all around the world when implemented rightly.