Like most other fields today, agriculture is highly reliant on technological advancements and machinery. In order to do their jobs efficiently, farmers use agricultural machinery such as row-crop tractors, automated harvesting systems and rototillers. This makes their lives easier and helps produce more food for an ever-growing human population. This is only possible because of agricultural engineers who work hard to solve agricultural issues.
According to National Careers Service, agricultural engineers start off earning approximately £25,000 and can earn up to £45,000 or even more if experienced or with overtime. Agricultural engineering involves using engineering principles to solve agricultural problems and meet rising demands. Examples of agricultural problems include machinery problems, poor soil chemistry, environmental concerns, inefficiency, farmer/operator fatigue and more.
Types of Jobs in Agricultural Engineering
Agricultural engineering is a large field and consists of different types of jobs. Some agricultural engineers spend most of their time working in laboratories testing equipment, whilst others spend their days on farms or in other outdoor settings. Individuals in the agricultural engineering field can also work in different parts of the industry. Some such individuals deal with issues involving land farming while others tackle issues in aquaculture, machinery and forestry. The following are some of the various areas that agricultural engineers can specialise in;
When people think of agricultural engineers, designing and producing agricultural machinery come to mind. Advancements in agricultural equipment such as automated steering and driving and machinery like large row planters have made a huge difference in productivity and output. In addition to designing agricultural machinery, agricultural engineers also test machinery to ensure that it can be operated without any problems arising. This ensures reliability and minimises the potential for injury, as well as allowing users to get on with the jobs at hand.
Agricultural Resource Management
Agricultural engineers also use their knowledge of science and mathematics to figure out how to allocate land and water to different crops and how to maximise output whilst reducing the amount of resources used.
Processing food and fibre involves processes like milling, mixing, drying, heating, cooling, compacting, liquidising and more. These have different effects on agricultural products and subsequent packing, storing, and transportation. Those in agricultural engineering can help guide entrepreneurs in these processes, best practices and how to best store, transport and pack agricultural items.
Agricultural engineers are also known for designing crop processing units, animal farms, crop storage facilities, greenhouses, grain silos and more. They also oversee the construction of these units and make any changes as they see fit, such as changing the airflow in a barn.
Agricultural engineering also includes planning and designing different systems to ensure soil conservation, including systems that ensure the safe discharge of floodwater and systems that protect against soil erosion and improve conservation efforts.
Agricultural technology is one of the most interesting areas of agricultural engineering and continually makes strides. Precision agriculture has been growing worldwide, with a Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs survey showing that 42% of farms used precision farming techniques like regular weighing to measure livestock growth rates.
Bioengineering is one of the fastest-growing subfields in agricultural engineering and consists of everything from food engineering to genetically modified organisms. This has been a game-changer since advancements like making crops pest-resistant allow farmers to use fewer pesticides and make farming more efficient. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), up to 40% of global crop production is lost to plant pests and diseases each year.
Many agricultural engineers work to educate the next generation of agricultural workers and can teach in universities, colleges, and more. However, those in agricultural engineering also often hold educational seminars for farmers and other workers to teach them about using machinery or increasing produce without negatively impacting the environment.
Irrigation and Water Supply
Agricultural engineers often work to ensure the proper utilisation of resources like water. They can be involved in developing different irrigation systems and can design and supervise the building of dams, reservoirs, canals, pipelines, pump systems, sprinkler systems, hydraulic structures and drainage systems.
Food and animal farming is essential to feed the world’s population but results in both chemical runoff and animal waste. Environmental and sustainability engineers work with agricultural engineers to ensure proper waste management and more environmentally friendly solutions whilst still prioritising agricultural efficiency. Agricultural waste management systems have to be studied and designed by agricultural engineers, who then have to supervise building and functioning to further improve these systems.
Individuals in agricultural engineering also research different environmental phenomena to see how they impact crops and animal farming and how they can be neutralised. They also develop technology or systems to do so, as well as study how existing technology may be applied to agricultural issues. Research includes that on mechanisation, engineering, food processing technology and much more.
The Importance of Agricultural Engineering
Farmers, foresters and others in the agricultural field all rely on technology to help them to do their work efficiently. With the global population set to reach 9.7 billion in 2050, the world will need more food than ever. Technology is the key to this, with those in agricultural engineering designing, manufacturing, and installing machinery such as combine harvesters, drones, and robots that help increase agricultural yield and minimise problems. According to National Careers Service, engineering is expected to face a 5.9% job growth, with 6,148 new jobs in the industry by 2027, making this a great field to enter!
Are You Looking for Jobs in Agricultural Engineering?
If you’re looking for jobs in an innovative field and like problem-solving, and working towards something important, agricultural engineering may be the field for you. Whether it’s a job as an agricultural engineer or other jobs in the industry, look no further than Agriculture Recruitment Specialists. We are known for connecting farming talent worldwide with the best agricultural companies and organisations.
Because we specialise in recruitment within the agriculture, farming, food, machinery, horticulture and equine industries, we can help you to find your dream job. Whether you’re just starting out in agriculture or have years of experience under the belt - we can help. Start by checking out our job board and register with us by uploading your CV here.
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