The individual machines that are shown in this video aren’t so important to our geographic inquiry, but the scale and the scope of mechanization on the agricultural sector is absolutely the point here. Agricultural production has increased exponentially (dare I say geometrically?) since the Industrial Revolution and machines (and increasingly sophisticated machinery) are the reason why. Our collective capacity to grow grow more food has many reverberating implications, and I’ll mention a few of them here:
- Population growth has never faced the feared Malthusian limits.
- The prices of most commodities (relative to the time in takes to earn the money) has dropped in the last few decades.
- Less land is used for agriculture now than 20 years ago (Our World in Data).
One of the reasons for the importance of the uniform agricultural landscape (i.e.-evenly spaced rows) is that the mechanization process requires a degree of precision that only works with a highly uniform landscape. The vast majority of these machines rely of fossil fuels and not so easily replaced with commercial electric vehicles given their power requirements and need to be away from recharging stations.
Tags: agriculture, agribusiness.