Manufacturing and Engineering Magazine Volume 425 - January 2016 - Page 66

AGRICULTURE A GROWING INDUSTRY after a long period of decline, the UK's farming sector is becoming more prominent than ever. Despite decades of industrial development and urbanisation, the UK's farming industry continues to grow. Its success is one we can trace back to the agricultural sector's pronounced commitment to progress and its incorporation of new manufacturing and engineering processes. Comprising some 43m acres of land, divided between arable farming and animal pasture, the UK's farming sector is more prominent than ever. While the purpose of agriculture, to grow and store sources of food for wide distribution, hasn't changed since the birth of farming, the practices and equipment making possible that process has since become unrecognisable. Now driven by the use of agrochemicals, intelligent data capture software and complex mechanics, the UK's farming industry is well-equipped to 4 64 MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING MAGAZINE deal with the demands of a soaring population. In arable farming, the types and sizes of machinery used to yield crop have changed enormously in line with increased demand, as well as the looming environmental threat that farming poses to both the local and global landscape. Because intensified production sees a reduction in soil quality and can destroy the natural habitat of many organic species, it has been the challenge of creating and making use of less invasive tooling equipment with a view to reducing environmental cost. Various new seed drills, tooling and ploughing equipment have alleviated those concerns and established alternative methods that are not only less detrimental to local ecosystems but maintain the rate of production needed to support dependent societies. With more precise equipment, growers have moreover been able to