|Environmental Handbook Volume II: Agriculture, Mining/Energy, Trade/Industry (GTZ, 1995, 736 p.)|
|33. Agricultural engineering|
Among the negative consequences of cultivation - magnified by use of mechanical aids - it is erosion that has by far the greatest significance worldwide. While there are numerous ways of reducing erosion (e.g. crop-growing measures such as mulching, technical measures such as terracing and planting of windbreaks), standards for evaluating the effect of erosion are largely confined to criteria for recording and assessing the removal of soil. Specific cultivation bans or requirements are occasionally imposed in the catchment areas of reservoirs particularly at risk from sediment.
Manufacturers of tractors and agricultural machinery in industrialised countries are called upon to fulfil widely varying national environmental requirements. These include
- standards and guidelines on design and durability;
- provision of safety devices, protective circuits etc., particularly for motorised vehicles and machines;
- provision of special equipment if the vehicles use public roads (danger to other road users);
- emission standards (exhaust emissions, noise).
Institutions performing official functions, such as agricultural-machinery testing stations, carry out type approval testing whose results are binding on manufacturers. Compliance with requirements is relatively easy to monitor.
It is far more difficult to ensure that regulations are observed by users. Safety devices may be removed, protective clothing and masks not worn or emission standards, speed limits and the like disregarded.