Food is one of the essential requirements for every living entity. Agriculture of farming may be defined as the process of cultivating crops to provide food to the entire population.
Agriculture is something that requires the application of certain specific procedures and practices. The practices that help produce adequate and high-quality yields are called agricultural practices.
While growing a crop, factors such as soil properties, climate, season, type of crop, etc. must be considered. Merely selecting a crop and growing it during an appropriate season is not sufficient to get a good yield.
Incorporating certain practices into farming is essential to raise better yield crops. All such practices and measures are together called agricultural practices.
The activities that form the basic part of agricultural practices include:
The preparation of the soil is the first step involved in good agricultural practices. Before growing a crop, plow, level, and manure the soil. Loosening and digging the soil using a plow is called plowing. After plowing, level the soil evenly and manure it. This is how the soil is prepared before growing a crop.
The process next to soil preparation is sowing. Select seeds belonging to high-quality crop strains. Disperse the seeds in the field either manually with hands or mechanically using drilling machines.
The process of the addition of fertilizers and manure to the soil to improve its fertility is called manuring. Manuring is done to provide the crop with essential nutrients and minerals. Fertilizers could be either natural or chemical. Natural fertilizers called manure are composed of animal & plant waste. Manuring not only provides essential nutrients to the crop but also enhances soil fertility.
Irrigation is the process of supplying an adequate amount of water to the crop. Oversupply of water results in waterlogging whereas undersupply of water leads to death of the crop. Irrigation should be adequate and timely. The interval and frequency of the water supply should be controlled.
The unwanted plants growing amidst the crop are called weeds. The process of eliminating weeds from the crop is called weeding. Weeds may be removed manually, mechanically, or chemically. The chemicals used to remove weeds are called weedicides.
After the crop matures, it is harvested. It is cut and gathered. The grains are then separated either manually (winnowing) or thrashing. There are a few best practices that need to be followed while harvesting. The best practices include:
The last and significant activity involved in agriculture is storing the yield appropriately. The yield may be stored in bins or granaries. This is the stage where the yield needs utmost care and protection from rodents & other pests. The yield must be subjected to processes like fumigation, cleaning, and drying before storing.
Some of the best agricultural practices to be inculcated while growing a crop are as follows.
1. Crop rotation
Crop rotation is the practice of cultivating different crops on the same field successively. This practice retains the productive capacity of the soil. Additionally, it helps in improving soil fertility and in preventing soil erosion. Crop rotation ultimately results in better and high-quality crop yield.
2. Soil enrichment
Enriching the soil using organic and inorganic methods improves the nutrient quality of the soil. When it comes to biodiversity populations, organic methods work better than inorganic methods.
3. Natural pesticides and weedicides
Pests and weeds pose a huge and serious threat to the yields. Pests and weeds may be removed manually, mechanically, or chemically. However, using natural methods is proven to be highly effective. Pests and weeds can be controlled by introducing natural enemies such as parasites, predators, and pathogens.
4. Pest management programs
One of the systematic approaches towards successful farming is the incorporation of pest management programs. Pest management programs help minimize the risks and problems associated with pests. Highly integrated programs such as Biointensive Integrated Pest Management provide solutions to the risks arising because of pests.