A tractor is a workhorse of a machine that is primarily used in the agricultural sector for towing purposes, but which can also be used to power agricultural machinery. As well as their use in agriculture, tractors can be used in forestry, by local authorities, in gardening, on airports and for civil engineering, building roads, moving earth, and for large and small-scale landscaping purposes. In Austria and Germany, they official designation for a tractor translates as a 'towing machine.'
Engineers built the first self-propelled tractors at the start of the 20th century. Over the course of several years, more and more manufacturers developed the motorised plough that was presented by Robert Stock in 1908. This was also the start of com,petition in the market, and competitors were able to learn from the mistakes of early pioneers. Work undertaken by Professor Bernstein, of Halle in Germany, led to the introduction of MAN's first motor-propelled plough in 1916, which featured several technical innovations to distinguish it from its competitors. However, the decisive benefit of the MAN motorised plough was the option to attach a variety of motorised devices to it. Nonetheless, it didn't resemble emergent tractor technology; instead, it became a direct predecessor of the equipment carriers that were launched in the 1950s.
Agriculture in Germany was mainly mechanised as a result of the economic boom after the Second World War. In the 1950s, an unfathomably large number of businesses began to produce tractors and other agricultural equipment. Some of these firms only ever achieved prominence on a regional level. Others managed to expand globally over the course of the century. Today, agricultural machinery continues to grow in size and power. Today's typical tractors feature power outputs in excess of 100 PS; in the mid-1950s, average power output was a more modest 15 PS! Significant breakthroughs in tractor development included the invention of the rear-mounted three point hydraulic hitch by Harry Ferguson, and the Power Take-Off, which entered widespread use from around 1960. This transformed the agricultural towing implement into a versatile and useful way to transport a range of machinery.
Today, tractor drivers gather in the harvest while sitting in an air-conditioned cabin that is isolated from the dust and noise outside. Modern electronics and computers have transformed tractors into high-tech machines, and settings can be specified using touch screens while a joystick controls a variety of functions. All of this is done in the name of "precision farming." The concept refers to the optimisation of resources. That means that, during seeding, fertilising and spraying of fields, the precise quantities that are necessary for an optimal yield are used. In addition, unnecessary duplication is avoided during harvest and cultivation of the soil. This precision farming depends on the use of the most modern technologies.