Adapting new energy technology in agriculture

While the dream of some to see the taps of oil and gas to be turned off completely is largely hyperbole on their part, any reduction on the reliance of those resources should be seen as generally positive.

Of course such steps have to be taken with a view to the larger picture.

article continues below

In terms of energy there is the element of preserving stocks for key sectors over the longer term, and of course the environmental impact of extracting and processing oil and gas reserves versus whatever technologies develop as an alternative.

Nothing we do as human beings happens without it having some impact on the natural environment we live in, and that is a fact of life that cannot be overcome completely.

What we do need to do as a species is limit our impact, because we rely on this planet to produce food, to supply water and to have clean air to breath.

For agriculture that will mean looking to adopt new technologies as we move forward.

One area that is intriguing for farmers is the idea of electric powered machinery.

On-road electric vehicles and hybrids, think cars being at the forefront, have become if not common, at least on the radar these days. Most consumers may not look at an electric car as their first choice to purchase, but they know they exist as an option.

The off-road market that includes agricultural applications, think tractors, is not as developed.

It might never be as widely reasonable given the power required, but there are going to be farm applications where electric is a viable option in the future.

The agriculture machinery sector has always been an innovative one, with an ability to go into the shop with a problem in mind, and emerge sometime later with a viable solution that could be manufactured for farmers to use.

One only needs to look at the zero-till equipment of today. There was a time when producers could not envision being able to seed directly into heavy trash cover, but today it is an accepted practice.

We will see the same evolution in terms of electric power for farm equipment, although at present it is difficult to envision exactly the scope the development will encompass, and of course the timeframe of the arrival of various elements to the marketplace.

Certainly, in this era we are aware that development can often happen far more quickly than we might imagine.

Increasingly, technology is moving forward at a startling pace, and we are likely to see that in the case of electric equipment for the farm.