Crop improvement

The aim of agriculture has always been to improve productivity or crop yield. In recent years, productivity has increased tremendously due to the adoption of certain practices, referred to as modern agricultural practices. These include improvement in irrigation, and the use o agricultural machines, chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Perhaps most significant of modern agricultural practice is the cultivation of improved varieties of crops. Improved varieties are raised by cross breading two varieties, each of which has certain desirable qualities. For example, one variety may produce more grain but be susceptible to diseases, and another variety may be poor in grain production but resistant to diseases. By cross breading the two varieties under controlled condition, a hybrid variety with the desirable characters of both the parent varieties can be developed. Hybrid varieties are also known as high 0yeildingvarieties. The technique of cross breeding two varieties to produce a new variety with the desirable characters of both the varieties is called hybridization.

This technique has been used to produce improved varieties of rice, wheat, pulses and oil seeds. It has also been used to breed improved varieties of cattle, sheep and poultry.

Hybrid varieties

Hybrid varieties generally have a higher yield than traditional varieties. They also manure faster and may have some additional qualities, like better taste or higher nutritional value. However, they are usually more susceptible to diseases. The plants require more irrigation, fertilizers and pesticides, while the animals require more nutritional feeds and greater care.

Organic farming

Now that people are becoming ore aware of the harmful effects o the use of fertilizers, pesticides and weedicides, many are gradually shifting to what I called organic farming.

In brief, organic farming is the practice of raising crops without using inorganic chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides. However, organic farmers have to follow certain strict guidelines. They must use organic manure that has been prepared scientifically. To maintain soil fertility, and for weed pest control, they must use a combination of crop rotation, had weeding, mixed cropping and biological control. The crops cultivated must be natural varieties. No artificial means can be used for the preservation of food either.

The food can be marketed as an organic product only if these methods are followed, and the food is inspected and certified by a recognized body.

Meat and poultry products can also be produced `organically for this, the animals must be given only organic feed and must graze on pasture untouched by chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Also they must not be given any chemical substances to increase production, and must be raised in a hygienic and stress-free environment.



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