Agriculture Practices - Organic Farming, Irrigation

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Introduction

Agriculture is the art and scientific study of the development and cultivation of the soil, developing yields and raising animals. Over centuries, human survival has been dependent on agriculture and farming. The growth of farming and agriculture contributed to the rise of civilization.

What is agriculture?

Agriculture is defined as a practice of plant and livestock cultivation to obtain desired products for human use. In agriculture, there are certain criteria to be viewed such as the kind of crop, properties of soil, environment and so on. Depending on these criteria, farmers conclude which crop is to be developed at what season and spot. Besides, to yield a high-quality product, reasonable soil, environment and season are not adequate. It requires a bunch of strategies which should have been followed.

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Importance of agriculture

Social and Economical Aspect

Agriculture leads to an increase in food supply leading to the improved nutrition of the population and thus resulting in a healthy population. Agriculture cannot be practised by a few people. It needs the contribution of various people in each of its steps. Hence this leads to the generation of employment.

Environmental Aspect

Agriculture plays a crucial role in waste management. The biodegradable wastes can be converted into manure which can be utilized as a source of nutrition for the plants. Barren land can be converted into cropland with suitable treatment and hence agriculture ensures efficient utilization of land resources. It plays a major role in maintaining the microclimate of any area and improves the overall ecosystem quality.

What are the basic agricultural practices?

Agricultural practices refer to those sequential steps that are followed to ensure the proper production of crops. This has to be done to ensure a high-quality yield. The steps have been discussed in brief in the following section.

Steps of agricultural practices

Preparation of soil

Before starting the actual steps, the most essential component- the soil needs to be prepared. Preparation of the soil is essential to ensure the soil is fertile, well-aerated and drained, has homogeneous consistency, and can retain adequate moisture. This step is crucial because the soil has to withstand many unfavourable conditions since it is out in the open.

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The preparation is usually done with the help of various tools like plough and hoe.

Ploughing refers to the digging and loosening of soil to ensure optimum aeration. Levelling is conducted after ploughing to evenly distribute the soil and prevent lumping. Finally, the soil might be exhausted of nutrients which might be detrimental to the growth of plants. So it is replenished by the application of manure and fertilizers.

Seed selection and sowing

Seed selection is important to obtain a substantial yield. A good seed (also called HYV/High Yielding Variety seed) ensures better plant growth, more resistance to diseases, and higher output. Once the seeds have been selected, they need to be introduced into the prepared field. The process of distributing and burying the seeds into the soil either manually or by the usage of machinery is referred to as sowing.

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Irrigation

It refers to the application of optimum amounts of water to the land where the crops are growing to meet their water requirements. Water is generally provided through various channels like canals or pipelines from a source like ponds, wells, rivers, etc.

Crop maintenance

The crops require a considerable time to mature and hence require some maintenance especially because they are out in the open. They are prone to be attacked by various pests, birds, rodents, etc which can essentially ruin them. Weeds are unwanted plants that may grow around crops and compete with them for resources hindering crop growth. Hence the application of weedicides, insecticides, etc is essential to protect them. Farmers often build scarecrows to prevent attacks by birds.

Harvesting

It is the process of gathering the desirable parts of the crops and it is mainly carried out at a time when crops are properly developed and achieved the optimum level of maturity. It can be done manually with the help of tools like a sickle or can be assisted by machinery.

Storage

The harvested products are transported to the storehouses or granaries in this final step before they are sent for distribution in the market. It is necessary to dry the products before storage especially for grains and pulses to avoid desiccation. To prevent attacks by pests and rodents, the products are also fumigated.

What are sustainable agricultural practices?

Sustainability refers to the prevention of depletion of resources by adopting certain measures to maintain the balance in nature and the continuation of mankind.

Some of the measures taken in agriculture are discussed below-

  • Ensuring proper utilization and preparation of soil to avoid erosion.

  • Minimizing the usage of water by using improved techniques and technologies. These include drip irrigation which involves watering drop by drop and is time managed. Hydroponics is a novel idea that involves imparting nutrition to plants by mixing nutrients in the water.

  • Biodynamic farming practices are encouraged. This concept idealizes the cropland as a single organism where all cultivated species interact with each other creating a mini-ecosystem of sorts. This includes raising animals and using their excreta as manure to replenish soil fertility and using dead plants as fodder in return.

  • Crop rotation suggests the growth of various crop species in a given area. The crops chosen are often complementary to each other and ensure complete utilization of available resources while aiming at a greater yield percentage. More diversity in cropland makes them resistant to overall fluctuations in the environment.

  • Minimizing the usage of pesticides, weedicides, and other chemicals by supporting the growth of the natural predator of the pests. Weeds can be controlled by the process of using ground covers. It also helps in the conservation of soil moisture.

Conclusion

We started by defining agriculture and understanding its relevance in our daily lives. Then we listed the procedure that is followed to obtain the desired product. We finally define sustainability and highlight its importance in the current world scenario and proceed to list out some measures that have been adopted to ensure the same.

FAQs

1. What are pesticides?

Ans. These are chemical compounds that are used in the control of pests (harming organisms) in cropland, pesticides are of several types and include insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Examples include glyphosate, DDT, etc

2. Why are fertilizers not recommended these days?

Ans. Fertilizers are chemical compounds and are very harmful to the environment. Excess amounts of fertilizers act as pollutants that spread via water and air. They destroy the soil and water microbiota. They cause a phenomenon called biomagnification. It involves the increase in the accumulation of non-biodegradable substances in the bodies of the organisms as we move up the food chain.

3. What are common crop diseases?

Ans. Common diseases caused by bacteria include Granville wilting, necrosis, fire blight etc. Common diseases caused by fungi include exfoliation, black rust of wheat, etc

4. What is the green revolution in India?

Ans. Also referred to as the agricultural revolution in India is the movement that involved the adoption of modern technologies to increase the yield of crops.

5. What are genetically modified crops?

Ans. These are crops whose genomes are modified via genetic engineering to produce expression of desirable traits like pest resistance, increased nutrient yield, etc. Examples include Bt cotton, golden rice, etc.

References

  • Agri Farming. 2022. Soil Preparation In Agriculture, Methods, And Tips | Agri Farming. [online] Available at: https://www.agrifarming.in[Accessed 13 May 2022].

  • Publication, N., 2022. Crop Production and Management. [online] Ncert.nic.in. Available at:https://ncert.nic.in [Accessed 13 May 2022].

  • Society, N., 2022. The Art and Science of Agriculture. [online] National Geographic Society. Available at: https://www.nationalgeographic.org [Accessed 13 May 2022].

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raja
Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47

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