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Agricultural Engineering refers to the science and technology of producing food grains. It involves principles of engineering science and technology to production and processing in the field of agriculture. The principles of agriculture get combined with the disciplines of animal biology, plant biology and also principles of Mechanical, Civil, Electrical and Chemical Engineering. In BE/B. TECH AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING, which is a 4-year programme, the students basically study design of agricultural machinery and equipment; agricultural structures, agricultural resource management, surveying and land profiling. Agricultural engineering includes subjects like climatology and atmospheric science; soil management and conservation including erosion and erosion control, seeding, tillage etc. Precisely, agricultural engineering involves applying more traditional engineering principles– to mechanical, structural, technology, etc. – and agriculture, with the aim of reducing farmer/operator fatigue, gaining efficiency, being more environmentally friendly, and designing and building equipment. This program also includes areas such as Harvesting and processing of crops, livestock production, and waste management. One can pursue M.Tech in Agricultural Engineering after successful completion of BE/B.Tech.
Agricultural engineers integrate technology with farming. They design new and improved farming equipment that may work more efficiently or perform new tasks. They play a big role in designing and building agricultural infrastructures such as dams, water reservoirs, warehouses, and other structures. One may also help engineer solutions for pollution control at large farms. new forms of biofuels from non-food resources like algae and agricultural waste are also being developed by some of the agricultural engineers. Such kinds of fuels could economically and sustainably replace gasoline without jeopardizing the food supply. Though most agricultural engineers may develop specialities, most are involved in certain core activities. For example, most of the professionals' design and test agricultural machinery, equipment, and parts. They might also design food storage structures and food processing plants. Some of them may design housing and environments for livestock. Those who are interested in sustainability may provide advice on water quality and water pollution control issues. They also plan and oversee land reclamation projects on farms. Others may involve in agricultural waste-to-energy projects and carbon sequestration (absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into the soil, crops and trees). In May 2012, most agricultural engineers (17%) were employed in architectural, engineering and related services. 16% were employed by the federal government. Another 14% worked in food manufacturing. 13%of them worked in agriculture, construction, and mining machinery manufacturing. Another 6% were employed as educators.
Agricultural engineers work both indoors and outdoors. They spend their time creating plans and managing projects, and inspecting sites, monitoring equipment, and overseeing reclamation and water management projects. These positions involve a significant amount of travel. These engineers also work in laboratories and classrooms. They even collaborate with others to plan and solve problems. For example, they might work with horticulturalists, agronomists, animal scientists, and geneticists.
An Agricultural Engineer’s job may focus on the science behind food and farming, and how to help today's agricultural methods and products to meet global and national food demands. While tasks may vary significantly from job to job, the list includes standard duties that an agricultural engineer will encounter:
- Planning and designing the building of irrigation, drainage, and flood- and water-control systems
- Reviewing research and literature relating to current discoveries in the field
- Collecting field and control samples of biological samples and non-living media in order to perform analysis
- Engineering and monitoring the construction of agricultural buildings and storage facilities in order to engineer a system that is the most efficient while also the most cost-effective
- Designing equipment and machinery used for field preparation, seeding, spraying, harvesting, and transporting agricultural products
- Ensuring equipment design is consistent with local codes and farming culture as well as catering to the resources available in the region
- Supervising all aspects of the production and delivery of agricultural products from seed to table
- Preparing and presenting technical reports, meeting with clients, and communicating technical concepts to internal and external stakeholders
- Advocating for sustainable agriculture on a local and national level to interested parties
- Researching to find new ways of farming, harvesting, and storage
- Conducting research for the design of new structures and systems
- Conducting research in the field and lab to develop practices for food production that protect the environment
- Senior agricultural engineer jobs may often have an added level of managerial tasks to facilitate the scheduling, budgeting, and communications needs of various projects. Some common tasks may include:
1.Doing paperwork, analyzing the data, and preparing reports for external stakeholders
2.Drafting and implementing the construction plans and computerized management plans
3.Planning projects, administering and managing the budgets
4.Participating in the longitudinal safety analyses
5.Communicating with the internal and external clients, stakeholders, and the government departments
6.Researching and collecting the contextual information for case studies
7.Supervising the construction of flood- and water-control systems.
Agricultural engineers focus more on the large-impact areas of agriculture. With most engineering sub-disciplines, there are some very specific areas where students can specialize. some of the most common and most progressive sectors are:
Agricultural Machinery & Structural Design
Some typical areas of study include the design of agricultural equipment or structures (overlapping with mechanical and structural engineering). Major advancements have been made in this area, especially with equipment. Large-row planters and automated driving and steering by many farming equipment companies are several mechanical advancements made with agriculture progression.
Bioengineering is a very quickly advancing industry, and a hot topic for many people when it comes to food engineering and genetically modified organisms. However, engineering with different crops’ genetics to be able to use fewer pesticides, be pest resistant, or to more quickly and efficiently farm crops is a growing concept for most countries, especially third world countries. Biotechnology has also made advancements, in producing pharmaceuticals, such as human insulin for diabetics and medicine to treat numerous diseases.
With large-farming companies, there is much animal waste and chemical runoff. There are certain overlaps with environmental and sustainability engineers, where they work together to create the most environmentally friendly solution while being efficient for the farm.
Agricultural Resource Management
There is a lot of science and math that goes behind deciding how to use parcels of the land. Crop rotation is not as common in some places as it used to be 50 years ago, but figuring out how to allocate land and water is important in trying to reduce the number of chemicals and other resources farmers need to use, which reduces the cost.
One of the most interesting areas of agricultural engineering is agricultural technology. As we previously mentioned, GPS has allowed many technological advancements within agriculture. Moreover, Precision agriculture is probably one of the biggest industries that have grown over the past decade. Precision agriculture optimizes land to perform with a limited amount of chemical usage. Additionally, it reduces overspraying and over-seeding to reduce costs and helps use big data to better understand the optimal time to plant.
SCOPE OF AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING
Jobs are provided in tractor-manufactures, irrigation companies, fertilizers and seed companies, and dairy farms. State agriculture departments do recruit Agriculture Engineers at district and sub-district levels for processing, farm mechanization etc.
Postgraduates can even appear for Agricultural Research Service Exam conducted by Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board to become scientists.
After qualifying NET one can even pursue teaching at colleges and universities as a lecturer.