The mechanization of agriculture describes the development process mainly of cereal farming and livestock, in the course of which (at least in industrialized countries ), the production and business methods changed radically between the end of the 19th and the second half of the 20th century.
Agriculture was until the end of the 19th century, when production had already made strong progress in the equipment with machinery in factories during the Industrial Revolution, has always been solely dependent on physical labor of humans or animals.
A first step was the emergence of mechanization of threshing machines, the first still with muscle force were (often horses ) operated. In the course of progress in the construction of internal combustion engines and the invention of motorized vehicles, there were initial thoughts and attempts to use this technique for an increase in efficiency in agriculture. End of the 19th century the first attempts were made with motorized tractors, early precursors of tractors, which initially but still proved to be too weak. In parallel to today's conventional internal combustion engines, the engine was still in operation with steam- powered vehicles in the early days, which were indeed bulky and heavy and medium term not penetrated in the automotive sector, therefore, for stationary operation on the edges or on farms as drive units for other devices but well suitable. Consequently, larger companies began partly with the procurement of so-called traction engines. There stood a reliable source of power, even more devices have been developed that could be operated with their help, such as the baler.
In parallel, the development of the tractor or tractor took place in Germany is particularly famous in this context, the name Heinrich Lanz, in whose company (though long after his death ) built since the 1920s have become in some cases even to the genus designation for tractor Lanz Bulldog was. The technical development was, however, also significantly promoted in the U.S..
First experiments with combined Mähdreschmaschinen there were already too far in the 19th century. Self-propelled combines were then constructed in the 1930s in the United States. Tractors as well as combine harvester sat there since the 1930s, reinforced by, in Europe, the development was much slower, probably because the average farm size was significantly lower, the acquisition of large and expensive machines appeared less rewarding, or simply was not financially feasible. The distribution of tractors came only in the 1950s, making much headway. Since then, a rapid technical advance with dramatic increases in performance can be observed in the agricultural equipment, which is also required by increasingly severe and more energy -requiring devices.