There are six primary sources of power in agriculture: human labor, domestic animals, wind, flowing water, electricity, and heat engines. The primary sources of power for modern agriculture are the internal combustion engine and electric motor. Some day, the primary source of power may change to fuel cells, solar energy, or atomic energy, but in the immediate future the primary sources of power for agriculture will continue to be internal combustion heat engines and electric motors.

Internal combustion engines used for agricultural applications range from those used for one-horsepower garden tools to the hundreds of horsepower required for very large tractors. Because engines are very common, knowledge of how and why they work is essential to a successful agricultural manager. In this chapter, the basic engine types and functions are discussed, as are some basic calculations concerning engine size (displacement) and compression ratio.

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