Agriculture is the practice of cultivating crops and livestock. It is the backbone of India's economy as most of the economy of the country derives from agricultural practices. Agricultural practices came into existence as the modern man emerged. After the early age of hunting and gathering food, men started cultivating and growing crops for his livelihood. Growing food earlier not only became the source of income but also reduced the effort of hunting among our predecessors. Agriculture has grown since then and now it is the main source of income for farmers and the primary source of food for the people.
Agricultural practices in today's world not only includes the growing and cultivating of crops. It also includes growing livestock, poultry farming, animal husbandry, apiculture, horticulture, floriculture, etc. All of these practices come under various agricultural branches. Now we look at a few methods that are employed in the field of agriculture. These methods enhance the production of crops. They are as mentioned below:
Soil is the primary substance in traditional agricultural practice for the formation of tasty and healthy vegetables. It is a necessary procedure to make the earth better before planting crops and sowing seeds. Different methods are used to enhance the nutrients in the soil. The soil contains both living and nonliving organisms that are equally required for the growth and development of the crop. The existing components are the earthworms, microorganisms like nitrogen-fixing bacteria, decayed organic matter, and other organisms. The nonliving components are the minerals, nutrients, water that the roots absorb from the soil. Three procedures come under soil preparation. They are:
Plowing is the process of loosening the ground. This process makes all of the minerals of the earth to come up. The soil receives the proper amount of oxygenation. Traditionally, it was done by bulls or ox, but in recent times, tractors are used to plow the land.
Leveling: It is the process of making the ground surface even after plowing. This process ensures that all of the crops are grown on an even surface.
Manuring: It is the supplementation of nutrients to the soil at regular intervals to enhance the growth and development of the plant.
Sowing is the procedure of burying the healthy seeds that grow into the crop in the later stage. First, the farmer has to select the appropriate seeds to plant. Later, the seeds can be planted into the ground manually or with the aid of seed-drilling machines. It is done after the process of soil preparation. Proper seed selection and distribution are necessary for the adequate growth of the plants. In few plants like paddy, the seeds are first grown into seedlings in a smaller area and later transferred to the main field where the rice is grown. Farmers also store seeds for later use. Many seed banks also exist, which protects the seeds of different species. These seeds are used after any natural calamities when all of the seeds sown are washed away.
Manuring is the process of supplementation of nutrients to the growing plants. The natural nutrient supplements like manure by organic and dead and rotten waste or vermicomposting can be used for the maturing process. Chemical fertilizers are also used by farmers to manure the crops. These chemical fertilizers contain the appropriate amount of the nutrients needed for the plants to grow. A farmer must calculate the fertilizers used for the crops, as an excess of fertilizers may also harm the plants. Manuring must be done in periodic intervals so that the vegetables do not run out of nutrients to grow. Many methods like crop rotation, organic farming employs organic manure instead of the chemical fertilizers. Using the natural manure also enriches the fertility of the soil and soil does not get contaminated. This process also gives food to the earthworms and other insects in the ground.
Water supply to the growing crops is called irrigation. Since water is essential for the growth of plants, proper amount of water must be supplied to the crops on regular intervals. Inadequate supply of water leads to the crops being dried, and excess of water supply leads to the problem of waterlogging. Waterlogging causes the erosion of topsoil, which is the most fertile soil, taking thousands of years for the formation. Therefore, the frequency and amount of water that is supplied to the crops must be monitored. The water sources can be from ponds, lakes, reservoirs, dams, or rainwater. Canals are constructed for the passage of water to the crops.
During the growth of the crops that need to be harvested, many unwanted crops also grow along with them. These plants can absorb the nutrition given to the main plant. Hence, it becomes essential to remove these unwanted plants. Weeding is the removal of these kinds of plants. It is done by using weedicides which destroy the weeds or by manually plucking through hand. It should be removed from the process of soil preparation. Common plants are carrot grass, oxalis, wild violet, dandelion, etc.
Once the crops are grown, fully matured and bear the grains and fruits, it is cut and separated by the farmer. The grains are separated from the plants by various methods like winnowing and threshing. The harvested grains are the leading cause. All of the agricultural practices are done. There is a different climate for planting different crops; similarly, in India around January, most of the crops are harvested. The farmer works all of the years to get the harvested grains, which he yields that he later sells and earns his income. Any deviation in the seasons during the year, can destroy his crops and damage the yield of the plants.
The harvesting of crops initially takes place at a particular season. The vegetables that are matured are cut by the farmer manually or with the use of machines. The plants that are cut are then dried in the sun. The grains of the crops are separated from the vegetables. The grains contain husks that are departed from the grain. The grains extracted are later dried and stored in jute bags.
The farmer does not use all of his yields at once. He stores the return in the warehouse for later use. He sells the grains throughout the year to earn his livelihood. Hence, proper warehouse and godowns are constructed to store the grains. The grains must be protected by the external environment and also from pests and rodents. Cleaning, fumigation, and drying is done to the warehouse before the grains are stored. The grains are later transported to different places throughout the year.
The process of agricultural practice is carried out throughout the year or depending on the crop to be harvested. Each step is vital for the proper growth of healthy vegetables. Along with these procedures, adequate climate, adequate sunlight, availability of nutrients required for the increase is also equally essential. India depends mainly on agriculture for its economy. Agriculture is considered as a gamble with the monsoons. As the progress of the plant in agriculture primarily depends on the storms.