AGRONOMY AND ITS SCOPE

Agriculture helps to meet the basic needs of human and their civilization by providing food and feed,fiber for clothing, shelter,raw materials and materials for andfrom factories; provides a free farand fresh environment, medicine, recreation and therefore agricultureisthemostimportantenterpriseintheworld.Agricultureprovidesfood,feed, fiber,fuel, furniture,abundant food for driving out famine.1.1 Meaning of AgricultureThe term agriculture is derived from the Latin words “ager” or “agri” meaning “soil” and ‘cultra’ meaning ‘cultivation’. It is defined as science, art and business of producing crops and livestock for man’s use, economic purpose and employment.Agriculture is the cultivation of lands for production of crops for a regular supply of food and other needs for progress of the nation. It is influenced by a large number of factors, some of which can be controlled by man (soil and irrigation) which others are beyond the control (climate)As an art: Itembracesknowledgeofthewaytoperformtheoperationsofthefarminaskillful manner.Theskilliscategorizedas;Physical skill:Itinvolvestheabilityandcapacitytocarryouttheoperationinanefficientwayfor e.g.,handlingoffarmimplements,animalsetc.,sowingofseeds,fertilizerandpesticidesapplication etc.Mental skill:The farmer is able to take a decision based on experience, such as (i) time and method of ploughing,(ii) selection of crop and cropping system to suit soil and climate, (iii) adopting improved farmpracticesetc.As a science:It utilizes all modern technologies developed on scientific principles such as crop improvement breeding,crop production,crop protection,economics etc.,to maximize the yield and profit. For example, new crops and varieties developed by hybridization,transgenic crop varietiesresistanttopestsanddiseases,hybridsineachcrop,highfertilizerresponsivevarieties, watermanagement,herbicidestocontrolweeds,useofbio-controlagentstocombatpestanddiseasesetc.Asthebusiness:Aslongasagricultureisthewayoflifeoftheruralpopulation,productionis ultimately bound to consumption. Butagriculture asabusiness aimsatmaximum netreturn through the management of land, labour,water and capital,employing and the knowledge of various sciences for productionoffood, feed, fiberandfuel.Inrecentyears,agriculture iscommercializedtorunasa businessthroughmechanization.1.2 ScopeofagricultureinIndiaIn India, population pressure is increasing while area under cultivation is static (as shown in the land utilizationstatisticsgivenbelow)orevenshrinking,whichdemandintensificationofcroppingand allied activities in two dimensions i.e., time and space Land utilization statistics (2014-15)Totalgeographicalarea : 328.72millionha. Totalreportingarea : 307.81millionha. Areaundercultivation: 155.22millionha. Totalcroppedarea : 198.36 millionha. Areasownmorethanonce : 58.23millionha.Areanotavailableforcultivation : 43.80millionha. Areaunderforest : 71.79millionha.Other uncultivated land excluding forest : 25.83 million haFallow lands : 26.18 million ha Cropping intensity : 142 %(Source: Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Govt. of India 2015-16) In India, food grain production increased almost fivefolds from about 50 million tones at independencetomorethan281milliontonesin2018-19. Despitevariationinthe performance of individual crops and regions,total food grain production maintained a growth of 2.7% perannum,whichkeptaheadofpopulationgrowthatabout2.2%perannum. In future, agriculture development in India wouldbeguidednotonlybythecompulsionofimproving food and nutritional security,but also bythe concerns for environmental protection, sustainability andprofitability.Table 1: Area, Production and Productivity of crops in India during 2015-16 Name of the Crop Area ( thousand hectares ) Production ( thousand tonnes ) Productivity (kg/ hectare)Cereals Rice 43388 104317 2404 Wheat 30228 93501 3093 Maize 8691 21807 2509 Jowar 5653 4411 780 Bajra 6983 8057 1154 Ragi 1259 1793 1424 Small millets 598 365 610Pulses Chickpea 8349 7169 859 Black gram 4019 2199 547 Green gram 3832 1603 418 Red gram 3746 2458 656Oilseeds Ground nut 4555 6771 1486 Sesame 1947 866 445 Sunflower 474 331 697 Castor 1037 1650 1591 Safflower 144 64 446 Soyabean 11665 8592 737 Rape seed & mustard 5762 6821 1184Sugarcane 4953 352163 71095Cotton 11872 30147 432Jute 731 9938 2448(Source:Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare) 1.3 BranchesofagricultureAgricultureisthebranchofscienceencompassingtheapplied aspects of basic sciences. The applied aspects ofagriculturalscienceconsists of study offield crops and theirmanagement(Arviculture)includingsoilmanagement.Cropproduction- It deals with the production ofvarious crops,which includes food crops, fodder crops,fibrecrops,sugar,oilseeds,etc.Itincludesagronomy,soilscience,entomology, pathology, microbiology,etc. Theaimistohavebetterfoodproductionandhowtocontrolthediseases.Horticulture-Branchof agriculturedealswiththeproductionofflowers,fruits,vegetables, ornamental plants, spices, condiments (includes narcotic crops-opium, etc., which has medicinal value) andbeverages.AgriculturalEngineering-Itisanimportantcomponentforcropproductionandhorticulture particularly to provide tools and implements. It is aiming to produce modified tools to facilitate proper animalhusbandryandcropproductiontools,implementsandmachineryinanimalproduction.Forestry –Itdealswithproductionoflargescalecultivationofperennialtrees forsupplyingwood, timber,rubber,etc.andalsorawmaterialsforindustries.AnimalHusbandry– It deals with production and maintenanceofvarioustypes oflivestock.Theobjectiveistogetmaximumoutputbyfeeding,rearing,etc.The animal husbandry depends on agriculture products and by products.FisheryScience-Itisformarinefishandinlandfishesincludingshrimpsandprawns.HomeScience-Applicationandutilizationofagriculturalproducesinabettermanner.On integration, all the seven branches, first three is grouped as for crop production group and next two for animal management and last two as allied agriculture branches. 1.4 DevelopmentofscientificagricultureEarlymandependedonhunting,fishingandfoodgathering. However,as various groups of men undertook deliberate cultivation of wild plants and domestication of wild animals, agriculture came into being. Cultivation of graincrops,such as wheat, rice,barley and millets,encouraged settlementofstablefarm communities,whichultimately becometownsorcitiesinvariouspartsoftheworld. Agricultural implements-diggingstick,hoe, scytheandplough-developedslowlyoverthecenturies and each innovation caused profound changes in human life. From early times peoplecreated indigenoussystemsofirrigationinsemi-aridandregionsofperiodicrainfall areas.After late 18thcentury,the industrial revolution swelled the population of towns and cities and forced agriculture into greater integration with general economic and financial aspects.The era of mechanized agriculture began with theinvention machines the reaper, cultivator,thresher,combineharvestersandtractors, whichcontinuedtoappearovertheyearsleading to a new type of large scale agriculture. Modern science revolutionized the food processing. Breeding programmes have developed highly specialized animal, plant and poultry varieties thereby increasingproductionefficiencygreatly.Allovertheworld,agriculturalcollegesandgovernmentagencies attemptedto increase output by disseminating knowledge of improved agricultural practices through release of new plant and animal types and intensive research into basic and applied scientificprinciplesrelatingtoagriculturalproduction.1.5 Historyof agricultureExcavations,legendsandremotesensingtestsrevealthatagricultureis10,000yearsold. Womenby their intrinsic insight first observed that plants come upfrom seeds. Men concentrated on hunting and gathering(PaleolithicandNeolithicperiods)duringthattime.Womenwerethepioneersforcultivating usefulplantsfromthewildflora. Theydugoutediblerootsandrhizomesandburiedthesmallonesfor subsequentharvests. Theyusedanimalmeatasmainfoodandtheirskinforclothing. a. ShiftingCultivationAprimitiveformofagricultureinwhichpeopleworkingwiththecrudest oftools,cutdownapartof theforest,burnttheunderneathgrowthandstartednewgardensites. Afterfewyears,whentheseplots lost their fertility or became heavily infested with weeds or soil-borne pests, they shifted to a new site. In India,shiftingcultivationexistedindifferentstates,withdifferentnamesasjhumcultivationinAssam, poduin AndhraPradeshandOrissa,kumarainWesternGhats,walrainsoutheastRajasthan,penda bewarinMadhyaPradeshandslashandburninBihar.b. SubsidiaryFarmingIt is a rudimentarysystemofsettledfarming,whichincludescultivation,gatheringandhunting.Peoplein groups started settling down near a stream or river as permanent village sites and started cultivatingin thesamelandmorecontinuously,howeverthetools,cropsandcroppingmethodswereprimitive.c. Subsistence FarmingAdvancedformofprimitive agriculturewhich is based on principleof“Growitandeatit”insteadofgrowingcropsonacommercialbasisand raisingthecropsonlyforfamilyneeds.d. MixedFarmingItisthefarmingcomprisingcropandanimalcomponents.Fieldcrop-grasshusbandry(samefield was used both for cropping and later grazing)and itis a stage changing from food gathering tofoodgrowing.e. AdvancedFarmingAdvanced farming practices includes selection of crops and varieties, and their seed, green manuring with legumes,crop rotation,use of animal and crop refuse as manures,irrigation,pasture management, rearingofmilchanimals, bullocks,sheepandgoatforwoolandmeat,rearingofbirdsbystallfeeding etc.f. ScientificAgriculture (19thCentury)During18thcentury,modern agriculture wasstartedwithcropsequence,organic recycling,introductionofexoticcropsandanimals,useoffarm implementsinagricultureetc. During19thcentury, research and development (R&D) in fundamental and basic sciences were brought under applied aspectsofagriculture. Agriculturetooktheshapeofateachingscience.Laboratories,farms,research stations,researchcentres,institutes for research,teaching and extension (training and demonstration) weredeveloped.Books,journals,popularandscientificarticles,literatureswereintroduced.Newmedia, andaudio-visualaids weredevelopedtodisseminatenew researchfindingsandinformationtotherural masses.g. PresentDayAgriculture(21stCentury)Today agriculture isbecomingabusinessconsistingofvarious enterpriseslikelivestock(dairy),poultry,fishery,piggery,sericulture,apiary and plantationcroppingetc.1.6 Green RevolutionAccordingtoWorldBankprojections,theworldpopulationcouldreachastationarylevelofjustunder 10billionbyaroundtheendof21stcentury,comparedwith6.2billionsduring2000A.D. Theseprojectionsindicate thegrowth inpopulationis faster thaninfoodrequirements.Almostallthepopulation increase(95%)takesplaceinthepresentdaydevelopingcountries, whichhavelowpercapita consumptionlevels.Simplelessonfromprojectionisthat worlddemandcouldincreaseby50percent inthenext20years,wouldmorethandoubleagaininthefirsthalfofthenextcentury.Green revolution was achieved due to introduction of high yielding varieties with increased use of fertilizer and irrigation methods to increase the production. It started during 1960’s and gradually agricultural production increased from 1970 onwards. The term green revolution was first used in 1968 by the USAID director “William Gaud”. Father of green revolution in world is “Norman E Borlaug”. “M.S.Swaminathan” was considered as father of green revolution in India because he played a major role in introducing and developing high yielding varieties of wheat in India. In India, Punjab was the first state to try the new cropvarietiesas it contains reliable water supply and history of agricultural success. Table 2: Major Agricultural revolutions in IndiaName of Revolution FieldGreen Revolution Agriculture ProductionBlue Revolution Fish ProductionBrown Revolution Leather/Cocoa ProductionYellow Revolution Oil Seed ProductionGrey Revolution FertilizerWhite Revolution Dairy and Milk ProductionGolden Revolution Overall Horticulture, Honey, Fruit ProductionGolden Fibre Revolution Jute ProductionPink Revolution Onion and Prawn productionRed Revolution Meat and TomatoRound Revolution Potato ProductionSilver Revolution Egg ProductionSilver Fibre Revolution Cotton ProductionBlack Revolution Petroleum ProductionEvergreen Revolution Overall Development of Agriculture1.7 AgronomyThe Agronomy is derived from Greek words “Agros” meaning field and “nomos” meaning to “manage”Agronomy is a branch of agricultural science which deals (methods which provide favorable environment to the crop for higher productivity. )with principles and practices of soil, water and crop management.Father of modern Agronomy is “Pietrode’Crescenzi”Importance of basic sciences for development of Agriculture scienceBasic science is the study of basic principles and fundamentals of the respective subject.Applied science is the study basic principles and fundamentals of respective field.Agricultural sciences are essentially applied sciences and are dependent on basic sciences of Botany, Physiology, Bio chemistry, ecology, zoology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, economics etc.For example1.Knowledge of botany is helpful in plant breeding and plant genetics and is making possible for evolution of different varieties in crops suitable to particular agro-climatic condition.2. The knowledge of zoology (basic science of entomology) is helping the farmer to identify the insect pests which are responsible for damage to agricultural produce.3. Soil chemistry helps in understanding the plant nutrient status in the soil and the deficiency symptoms in plants.4. Physics helps in understanding the weather phenomena and soil conditions5. Mathematics is helpful in agricultural research and experimentation through statistics and Agricultural economics.6. Study of economics is helpful in estimating the costs and returns and existing conditions of farmers.Without basic science there can be no development in applied science. In the field of Agriculture basic and applied sciences are interrelated to each other.Scope of AgronomyAgronomy is a dynamic discipline with the advancement of knowledge and better understanding of plant and environment. Agricultural practices are modified and new practices are developed for high productivity, for example availability of chemical fertilizer has necessitated the generation of knowledge on the method, quantity and time of application of fertilizers. Similarly availability of herbicides for the control of weeds has led to development of knowledge about selectivity, time and method of application of herbicides. To overcome the problems different management practices are developed. To meet the food requirement of growing population from static area under cultivation, more number of crops have to be grown on the same piece of land to increase the productivity through intensive cropping . As new varieties of crops with high yield potential become available package of practices have to be developed to exploit their full potential.Restoration of soil fertility, preparation of good seed bed, use of proper seed rates, correct dates of sowing for each improved variety, proper conservation and management of soil moisture and proper control of weeds are agronomic practices to make our limited land and water resources more productive.1.9. Principles of Agronomy1. Proper Planning, programming and executing measures for efficient utilization of inputs land, labor,capital and other factors of crop production.2. Proper management of field by tillage, taking care of soil conservation and irrigation practices.3. Selection of crops and varieties to specific agro-climatic conditions having variation, soil fertility, seasonal and system of cultivation for higher production.4. Proper identification of applicable cropping systems (multiple cropping, mixed cropping and intercropping) which sustains the production and minimizes the risk of farmers under unfavorable climatic conditions. 5. Opting quality seed or seed material and further maintaining healthy and optimum plant population.6. Application of fertilizers and manures in a balanced way and at right time, quantity and method so as to sustain the soil fertility and productivity. More focus has to keep on integrated nutrient management.7. Efficient utilization of available water by proper irrigation scheduling at critical growth stages of crop is important. Execution for removal of drainage water is to be of primary concern.8. Adoption of timely based, adequate, need based and exact plant protection measures against weeds, insect’s pest and pathogens.9. Significant management practices like intercultural operations to acquire maximal profit in monetary and non- monetary inputs.10. Execution of suitable method and time of harvesting of the crop to minimize the losses and to set free the land for succeeding crops.11. Proper and suitable post-harvest technologies should be adopted. Relation of Agronomy to other sciencesAgronomy is a synthesis of several disciplines like soil science, Agricultural chemistry, crop physiology, plant ecology, biochemistry and economics. Soil physical, chemical and biological properties have to be understood thoroughly to effect modification of soil environment. Similarly it is necessary to understand the physiology of crops to meet their requirements. Advances in economic analysis helps in production of crops economically.Agronomist aims to obtain maximum production at minimum cost. He exploits the knowledge developed by basic and applied science for higher crop production. Whatever may be the research findings of other scientists.Agronomist has to test their suitability in the field and accept them finally and also judge the reactions of farming community. He is a key person with working knowledge of all agricultural disciplines and coordinator of different subject matter specialists.2.0 AgronomistScientist who studies the principles and practices of crop production and soil management for production of food for human beings and feed for his animals.Role of Agronomist 1. Agronomist studies the problems of crop production and develops better ways of producing food, feed and fibre and aims at obtaining maximum production at minimum cost 2. Agronomist exploits the knowledge developed by basic and allied, applied sciences for higher crop production. 3. Carries out research on scientific cultivation of crops taking into account the effect of factors like soil, climate, crop varieties and adjust production techniques suitably depending on the situation.4. Develops efficient methods of cultivation (whether broadcasting, nursery and transplantation or dibbling, etc.) 5. Identifies various types of nutrients required by crops , the time and method of applying nutrients 6. Selects better weed management practice. 7. Irrigation management: Whether to irrigate continuously or stop in between and how much water should be irrigated are calculated to find the water requirement. 8. Developing crop sequence what type of crop, cropping pattern, cropping sequence, method of harvesting, time for harvesting and finally he takes care of decision-making in the farm management.

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