Agricultural engineers are responsible for designing, developing, installing, and managing machines, buildings, vehicles, and systems used in the agricultural industry.
They also work in horticulture, forestry, land maintenance (for example, professionals at sports facilities such as golf courses) and in environmental engineering – in short, they work anywhere land is associated with engineering.
After their initial training, agricultural engineers specialize in the manufacture of agricultural vehicles and machines, in sales and engineering services, in agricultural companies or in field engineering.
Agricultural engineers engaged in the manufacture of design specifications, plan and test new machines and equipment, helping farmers to:
- The cultivation, irrigation and drainage of the soil.
- Sowing, spraying and harvesting crops.
- Classification and storage of products
- The facilities and the feeding (food and water) of the cattle.
Most manufacturing companies are small, so the agricultural engineer is generally responsible for more than one role. In a larger manufacturing company, they work in an area of expertise and work as part of a team of mechanical and production engineers, materials scientists, and financial experts.
Agricultural engineers may work for local machinery companies. They provide farmers, local authorities and other customers with the right machinery, while also providing advice, information and after-sales service. They can also provide advice and information to producers and manufacturers of farm machinery and equipment.
Agricultural engineers could also be involved in the organization of a farm, which could involve designing the layout of buildings, such as grow dryers and greenhouses, to ensure that the agricultural and horticultural processes are carried out with the greater efficiency.
They also select and install computer-controlled systems that regulate temperature, humidity, and feed rates.
They are increasingly involved in the conservation of rural areas, for example, through waste management. Field engineers are responsible for managing rural land and planning more efficient use of soil and water resources.
Engineers responsible for the design and installation of agricultural systems that irrigate drylands, drain wetlands, and limit damage from soil erosion.
In developing countries there is a great need for agricultural engineers who can introduce methods to reduce crop losses and increase crop yields, while being mindful of conservation and sustainable development.
Some agricultural engineers are involved in research, development, and teaching.
They work for specialized research institutes, colleges and universities, as well as for equipment manufacturers. Research engineers are tasked with solving agricultural problems in areas such as environmental protection, food safety, and pollution control. They can prepare and report on their findings.
Agricultural engineers often have responsibility for managing teams, workers, including other engineers, engineering technicians, and mechanics.
The work is carried out both indoors and outdoors, depending on the specialty of the engineer.