Food supplies all the basic requirements, which are required for growth, development, and proper health. Food is a mixture of all nutrients, including carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
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The science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil, for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products is called agriculture.
Sources of carbohydrates
Carbohydrates can be found in different forms, such as sugars, fresh fruits, starch, vegetables, cereals, corn, potatoes, fibres, bread, pastries, milk and milk products.
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Sources of fats
Fats are obtained naturally in several foods, such as butter, cheese, cream, and in oilseeds including soybean, groundnut, etc.
Sources of vitamins and minerals
Vegetables and fruits are the main sources of vitamins and minerals. Some of the vitamins can also be obtained by meat and fish.
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Sources of protein
The most common food which has a higher amount of protein are chicken, egg, fish, almond, chicken, oats, seafood, soybeans, pulses, cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt, milk, broccoli, and quinoa.
Fodder crops like berseem, oats or sudangrass are raised as food for the livestock.
The crops which are grown during the monsoon (June to October) are called Kharif crops. Black gram, cotton, green gram, maize, paddy, pigeon pea, soybean, are all examples of Kharif crops.
Crops which are grown during the winter season (October-March) are called Rabi crops. Wheat, gram, peas, mustard, linseed are rabi crops.
Crop Variety Improvement
Varieties or strains of crops can be selected by breeding for various useful characteristics such as disease resistance, response to fertilisers, product quality and high yields. This is called crop variety improvement.
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Hybridisation refers to crossing between genetically dissimilar plants.
It is a cross between the two same species but different varieties.
It is a cross between the two different species but the same genera.
It is a cross between the two intergeneric hybridizations belonging to different genera.
Genetically modified crops
When a desirable gene is added to the genome of a crop, we get genetically modified crops.
Examples of genetically modified crops or GM crops are Bt cotton, Bt brinjal, golden rice, etc.
Factors for which variety improvement is done
There are several reasons for which different improved varieties of crops are generated. The reasons include:
- Higher yield.
- Improved quality.
- Maturity duration.
- Wider adaptability.
- Biotic and abiotic resistance.
- Desirable agronomic characteristics.
Crop Production Improvement
Crop production management is the process that is used to effectively cultivate and harvest crops.
A plant gets its nutrients from air, water and soil. There are sixteen nutrients which are essential for plants. Air supplies carbon and oxygen, hydrogen comes from water, and soil supplies the other thirteen nutrients to plants. Nutrient management is done by supplying the soil with required nutrients, by adding fertilizers and manures.
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Among the 13 essential nutrients, 6 are the most essential nutrients required in abundance for growth and development of plants. These essential nutrients are collectively called macronutrients.
Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Calcium (Ca), Sulfur (S), Magnesium are the list of macronutrients required by the plants.
Among the 13 essential nutrients, 6 are classified into macronutrients and other 7 are classified into micronutrients These type of nutrients include iron (Fe), boron (B), chlorine (Cl), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu) and molybdenum (Mo). They are required in very small quantities, therefore, they are also called as trace minerals.
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Manure is an organic matter obtained from the solid wastes of animal, humans, sludge, sewage, domestic waste, decomposed dead plants and animals and other plant wastes including dry leaves twigs, agricultural wastes, weeds, etc. It contains a huge quantity of nutrients, which improves the soil quality and increase the yield of healthy crops.
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Compost and vermicompost
The process in which the biological waste material is decomposed in pits is known as composting. When compost is prepared by using earthworms to hasten the process it’s called vermicompost.
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Prior to the sowing of the crop seeds, some plants like sun hemp or guar are grown and then mulched by ploughing them into the soil. These green plants thus turn into green manure which helps in enriching the soil nutrients.
Fertilizers are commercially produced plant nutrients, which are required in small quantities. There are various brands of this fertilizer are available in the market. A most common example of fertilizer is NPK fertilizer which provides nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
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Organic farming is a farming system with minimal or no use of chemicals as fertilizers and with a maximum input of organic manures. All resources are used optimally to get maximum, chemical-free yield.
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Irrigation is the artificial process of applying water to the crops to fulfil their water requirements. There are different types of irrigation practised for improving crop yield. This process helps in ensuring that the crops get water at the right stages .i.e. during their growing season, which helps in increasing the expected yields of crop. Irrigation is done with the help of Canals, Wells, River lift system, Tanks, Rainwater harvesting and watersheds.
Cropping pattern refers to the proportion of area under various crops. The three types of cropping pattern are:
Intercropping: It is a cropping technique in which two or more crops are cultivated simultaneously in the same piece of land adhering to a specific row pattern. This type of cropping pattern helps in increasing the productivity of the crops. Therefore, it is followed by small farmers who are completely dependent on the rainfall for better yield.
Crop Rotation: It is a cropping technique, which is practised for growing different crops on the same land in preplanned succession. The crops are selected based upon their duration- on the one-year rotation, two-year rotation, and three-year rotation.
Mixed cropping: It refers to a cropping system where two or more crops cultivated in the same piece of land simultaneously. This technique is most commonly followed by farmers as it reduces the risk of total crop failure because of less rainfall or adverse climatic conditions.
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Crop Protection Management
Field crops are infested by a large number of weeds, insect, pests and diseases from which the crops should be protected.
Weeds are unwanted plants in the cultivated field consuming all the soil nutrients finally reducing the crop yield.
Protection methods against weeds
To protect the crop against weed, the following methods are employed.
- Preparing a good seedbed.
- Mechanical removal of weeds.
- Plants the seeds in a timely fashion.
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Effects of Insects and Pests on crops
Insect pests attack the plants in the following ways :
- They cut the root, stem and leaves of the plants
- They suck the cell sap from various parts of the plant.
- They bore into stem and fruits resulting in the reduction in yields.
Pesticides and Insecticides
Pesticides and insecticides are chemicals that are used to kill or destroy the pests and other insects that cause extensive damages to the stored and freshly harvested crops. These chemicals are basically toxic in nature.
Fungi and Viruses
Fungi and viruses are diseases causing harmful microorganisms, which affects both the plants and newly yield crops. These pathogens are destructive, as they destroy huge farms of crops.
Few examples of plant viruses are tobacco mosaic virus, cauliflower mosaic virus, cucumber mosaic virus etc. Disease-causing fungi are leaf rust, stem rust, powdery mildew etc.
Herbicides and Fungicides
They are highly toxic chemicals that are used to kill fungus and unwanted vegetations.
After harvesting, the newly obtained food grains are stored in huge storage facilities such as silos. However, due to the attack from pests or waterlogging, the food grains get destroyed. This is called storage loss.
Factors affecting storage loss
It is the loss caused to the postharvest system. The factors affecting the storage loss include both Abiotic and Biotic factors. Listed below are a few of them:
- Storage losses due to living organisms such as insects, rodents, fungi, mites and bacteria are biotic factors.
- Losses due to non- living organisms such as moisture and temperatures in the place of storage is called abiotic factors of storage loss.
Prevention and control measures for storage loss
Storage loss can be prevented by following certain protocols like:
- Strict cleaning of the produce before storage.
- Fumigation using chemicals that can kill pests.
- Proper drying of the product first in sunlight and then in shade.
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Animal husbandry is farming and maintenance of animal for a commercial purpose. Animals are raised for milk, meat and eggs.
Cattle are reared by almost all farmers. In India, cattle are reared for milk and draught labour for agricultural work.
There are mainly two species of reared castles-, Bos indicus (cow) and Bos bubalis (buffalo) are
The exotic breeds of cows like Jersey, Brown Swiss are reared for extended lactation.
The Indian breeds like Red Sindhi, Sahiwal are reared for disease resistance and drought labour.
Many hybrids are also reared in India.
Poultry farming is the form of animal husbandry which is undertaken to raise domestic fowl for the production of egg and chicken meat. Aseel, Busra Chittagong, and Ghagus are examples of the Indian varieties of poultry.
Plymouth rock Wyandotte, Rhode Island red and New Hampshire are examples of the American breeds.
Other examples include:
- English breeds are Sussex, Cornish, red caps, etc.
- Mediterranean Class ‘such as leghorns’ white leghorns, Minorca, are more commonly reared.
- Layers are the egg-laying birds and broilers are reared for meat.
Fishery deals with the procurement of fishes for consumption. Fish is a good source of protein and forms the diet of people living in the coastal area. Fish can be obtained from the sea, freshwater bodies or even from estuaries. The process of capturing fish is known as aquaculture. The different types of Fisheries are:
- Marine fisheries — Marine fishery deals with fishing in the oceans and seas. Apart from fishes, it also deals with other seafood such as prawns, lobsters and crabs.
- Inland fisheries — Inland fishery deals with the fishing in rivers, lakes and tanks. Rohu, Catla, Mrigal, Grass carp etc are very popular varieties of fishes reared in freshwater.
Beekeeping, also called apiculture is the rearing of bees for the production of honey and wax. This has become a major financially rewarding and agro-based activity. Some of the exotic varieties reared in India are Apis mellifera, Apis adamsoni. Apis cerena indica, commonly known as Indian bee is a popular indigenous variety. Apis dorsata, known as Rock bee is also an indigenous variety.
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