Hand Sowing To Advanced Machinery: How The Seed Drill Changed Agriculture

Until around 10,000 B.C., farming didn’t exist. Around this time, a climate change occurred in Europe, Africa, and Asia, making the regions much drier. People become less spread out, congregating where water was still available. Once the population grew dense, hunter-gatherers had to set aside their old ways and begin farming in order to sustain life.

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Throughout history, many planting methods have been practiced by farmers. The earliest and most obvious planting method was known as broadcasting. Broadcasting simply meant throwing seeds on the ground by hand and hoping they would sprout. For larger plots, broadcasting experienced a low success rate. Birds would eat the seeds, and there was little order to where seeds were placed, making it difficult for farmers to maintain for their harvest.

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Jethro Tull, an Englishman, brought about the British Agricultural Revolution in 1701 by inventing the first seed drill. Drawn by horse, the seed drill shot seeds into the ground by cutting small holes in the soil, sowing the seeds in neatly organised rows. Though it wasn’t immediately recognised, Jethro Tull’s invention made seed sowing a far less daunting task. After his death in 1742, the seed drill caught the attention of farmers. They realised it made their work more efficient and that with this tool, their crop’s success rate grew exponentially. The agriculture industry boomed.

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After the seed drill’s monumental success, farm machinery began to develop even further. Some notable inventions being the cotton gin, reaper, and the thresher. New ideas budded rapidly, and with every new invention, agriculture grew. Through the invention of these machines, crops produced faster. The seed drill pioneered modern day seed sowing methods including direct drill seeders and air seeders.

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The Direct drill seeder is primarily used throughout dry regions including Canada and the United States. Without cultivating the soil used for prior crops, direct drill seeders sow seeds exactly where the previous crop was grown. Through this process, the surface soil is left undisturbed, allowing the last crop’s ruminants to protect the soil from moisture evaporation and erosion.

For smaller seeds, air seeders are optimal for sowing. Using an air stream, both seeds and fertiliser are distributed in individual rows. The air stream is created by a high capacity fan that blows air through multiple pipes located beneath the seed and fertiliser tanks. The air seeder is convenient because of it’s dual distribution capabilities. By fertilising the seeds as they are sown, farmers get the job done in half the time.

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The evolution of farm machinery has also made a huge impact on today’s environment. By implementing the practice of the direct drill seeder, the agricultural community saves water, which is especially important in areas where water is scarce. Using equipment that saves water also allows farmers to plant crops in regions that were once unusable. However, is important to rotate crops in order to prevent the spread of plant diseases and harmful pests.

Overall, the advancement of farm tools has had a positive impact due to the fact that it has made food widely available and cheaper. Without them, food distribution would be restricted and prices would be high. Inventions like these will remain a driving force in agriculture for centuries to come.

 

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