The agriculture and food production industry uses some of the most advanced and progressive engineering in the UK, successfully harnessing innovation and technological wizardry to meet the demands of the fast-moving agricultural sector. Set this against the burgeoning world population, scarcity of natural resources, extreme weather and climate change; the need for new engineering and technology as a solution to the challenge has never been more important. Do you want to be part of that solution and leave the world a better place? Where previously three or four tractors were used on a farm, today typically a farmer will have one or two massive tractors to cope with the huge acreage. These tractors will have an engine capable of producing 200 hp and upwards - and will be packed with as much computer-power, electronics and sophisticated control systems as an F1 car. The down side is the bigger the tractor, the heavier it is! All of this has a negative impact on soil structure and drainage which in turn leads to reduced crop yields. What will the future hold? Perhaps a great number of lighter driverless tractors will be the future. Do you want to be involved with developing such an approach? And as tractors and machines have grown in complexity, so the service support required to keep the equipment working at full efficiency requires a new breed of technicians and technical support, highly trained, committed and adaptable.
Working in Landbased Engineering is both rewarding and challenging. You will probably enjoy the outdoor life, working on a variety of technology, and be attracted and fascinated by new innovations - and above all you will relish a challenge. Whether as a design engineer or a service technician, career opportunities are broad ranging. The network of some 1500 UK agricultural machinery dealerships, most of them working hand in hand with one of the major manufacturers, are always on the lookout for fresh talent, and offer a variety of training opportunities. You will work as part of a team, but be given the opportunity to build a career in whatever sector of the business appeals to you most.
Precision Farming Precision Farming and the technology of mechatronics such as remote sensors, robotic systems and automation is now playing a vital role on our farms and in efficient food production. Sensors and systems are adding a new level of precision and sophistication to performing accurate operations in the field, saving on seeds, fertiliser and pesticides. By doing so, environmental and financial benefits are achieved.
We drink around 5 billion litres of milk in Britain each year - the equivalent of 2,000 Olympic-size swimming pools - but many of us rarely think about the journey that milk makes from farm to fridge. With modern dairy equipment, engineering meets biology. Farmers need qualified technicians working on their milking machines where raw milk is in direct contact with the machine - and must have the confidence that they are receiving the highest level of expertise in design, installation, maintenance, servicing and repair to ensure that the highest quality milk is harvested and animal health issues are minimised.
As with agricultural machinery, there are a range of qualifications that can lead to you working with a groundscare dealership. And once you are there, the opportunities are endless. You might be maintaining machinery for golf courses, working on fine turf machines for homes, - even working at a Premiership football club, a Championship golf course or a Test Match ground And it is not only about mowers. Groundscare dealers look after a range of equipment. Compact tractors, lawn tractors, irrigation equipment, Quads and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), sportsground construction machinery - the list goes on.
The term ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) is used to describe a whole range of versatile vehicles that enable farmers, land-owners and event organisers to get around areas that would be largely inaccessible by a car or off-road vehicle. Many farm machinery and grass machinery dealerships hold one or more of the leading ATV franchises, and there are plentiful opportunities to become a trained service engineer, salesman or trainer passing on riding skills and operator safety.
Today’s forestry equipment is packed with innovative technology, designed to make the job of the professional forester and landscaper easier and safer. Chainsaws and cutting equipment are high power, compact and ergonomically designed. Forestryis as much about timber production as it is the management of the forest as an amenity. Engineers for Agriculture are involved in innovative projects such as the design of bridges and structures to give improved access to the natural environment. This might include tree top walkways, mountain bike paths, and viewing platforms.
Sustainable development is central to the agricultural and associated landbased engineering sector. The condition of our environment is influenced by our behaviour and we have the opportunity to either nurture or mistreat it. Landbased Engineering will play a leading part in developing alternative fuels in the coming years. As producers and users - many tractors are today designed to run partly or wholly on biodiesel - farmers will increasingly be stepping up production of wheat which goes to make alternative fuels such as ethanol, or biodiesel made from rape seed.
IAgrE Member Sam Moulding left school at 16 to start a 4 year apprenticeship based at Easton & Otley College in Norfolk, he now supervises a busy workshop on a G's Farm. Read Sam's Story.
IAgrE Student Member, Amy Boothby is enjoying her placement year at Harper Adams University, find our why she chose Agricultural Engineering - Read Amy's Story