- About us
- The Profession
The Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) was established in 1938 by a small group of far-seeing and enthusiastic engineers and agriculturalists.
The application of engineering thought and techniques to food production in Great Britain pre-dated the establishment of IAgrE by very many years. The use of water and wind power to operate mills to grind corn and pumps to raise water was commonplace in the middle ages.
In the nineteenth Century, the first successful attempts were made to harness mechanical power in the service of farming through the use of steam engines for ploughing and land cultivation and to drive stationary machines for threshing grain and seeds and for grinding animal feedstuffs.
By the late 1800's, combine harvesters pulled by teams of 30 or 40 horses were appearing in cereal growing areas of the United States. On the European side of the Atlantic, developments were also taking place with the showing of an oil engined tractor at the Royal Show in 1897.
From this background, reinforced by the food security issues that arose during the World War of 1914 - 1918, there arose the impetus and initiative that resulted in the formation of the Institution of British Agricultural Engineers. It was not until 11 years later that the name was changed to the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) to better reflect the Instituition's already international membership.
As the application of agricultural engineering techniques became appropriate to other sectors not normally seen as "agricultural" i.e. forestry, horticulture, environment and amenity, the tendency has been to refer to the Institution by the acronym IAgrE rather than by the use of its full title.
With the coming together (in what has become known as the "perfect storm") of climate change, scarce water, ever increasing world populations and associated food shortages, not to mention insufficent energy resources, the need for the broad range of skills embodied in traditional landbased (or agricultural) engineers has never been more evident.
We gratefully acknowledge the work done by the late J.A.C (Ian) Gibb in his book "Agricultural Engineering Perspective".