Agriculture and Fertilizers

What is Agriculture?

The part of science that is related to the production and management of crops is termed as Agriculture. Agriculture forms the primary sector of the Indian economy as nearly 40-45% of our entire population is involved in this sector. Agriculture and farm fertilizers are interdependent on each other as proper use of fertilizers can achieve superior agricultural activity. It is agriculture that helps to feed all the people of the world. Recently, development in agriculture has become an essential part of government schemes. Due to the increasing population, the land under agriculture has become too limited for large-scale cultivation. So, newer scientific technologies are in use to improve the agricultural scenario of the country. 

Types of Agriculture

There are various types of agriculture practiced by people all over the world. These are:

  1. Rudimentary Sedentary Tillage: The practice of using the same land repeatedly for an extended period. 

  2. Nomadic Herding: This is featured by grazing of cattle on the pastoral land.

  3. Intensive Subsistence Farming: This type of agricultural practice takes place in overpopulated countries. Rice is a widely cultivated crop under this category.

  4. Commercial Plantation: It includes the cultivation of crops for selling in the market. 

  5. Mixed Farming: More than one type of crop is cultivated at a time on the same agricultural land.

Agriculture Fertilizers

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Fertilizers are specific organic components that promote better growth of plants and crops. The source of fertilizers can either be chemical or natural ingredients. Plant fertilizers have become an essential element to supply the necessary nutrients required for the growth of plants. Naturally, without any fertilizers, the growth of crops may take an extended period. But when fertilizers are added to the crops, they can produce a useful result within a shorter time. Though the use of fertilizers in agriculture has proved to be beneficial, it has a few adverse effects on the land and surrounding environment. Thus limited usage of fertilizers should be practiced all over the world.

Types of Fertilizers

There are two types of fertilizers used in agriculture. They are:

  1. Mineral fertilizers

  2. Organic fertilizers

1. Mineral Fertilizers

These are chemical-based fertilizers used extensively for the growth of plants and the cultivation of crops. They are also termed as Inorganic fertilizers. Usually, the chemicals used are- Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Modern scientists have devised a new term for the combined use of fertilizers, as mentioned above. It is also known by the name of NPK fertilizer. Mineral fertilizers can be further categorized as:

  1. Potassium fertilizers: These types of fertilizers are based on potassium and its compounds. The fertilizers derived from potassium are Potassium sulphate, Potassium nitrate, and Potassium chloride. Almost all the essential traits of the crops are governed by potassium. Potassium helps in the process of photosynthesis and maintains the growth of the plant. It also helps in the transfer of starch and sugar from one part to the other. If potassium concentration is reduced, the plants get affected. Chlorosis of leaves and wilting of stems are caused by a deficiency of potassium.

  2. Nitrogen fertilizers: From the name, we can understand that it is based on Nitrogen and its compounds. The fertilizers derived from Nitrogen are Calcium ammonium nitrate, Ammonium nitrate. Urea, formed from Nitrogen, is a very efficient product used as fertilizer. As Nitrogen is the fundamental protein source in living organisms, it is considered an essential element for growth. Nitrogen and hydrogen react to form Ammonia. Thus fertilizers from Ammonia produce the best results.

  3. Phosphorus fertilizers: These types of fertilizers are based on Phosphorus and its compounds. The fertilizers derived from Phosphorus are Di-ammonium phosphate, Superphosphate, Triple superphosphate, etc. Phosphorus helps in the development of quality in the crops. Plants can fight against other diseases. Phosphorus also forms the DNA and stores energy in the form of ATP. Thus it is a necessary component. 

  4. Apart from NPK few other elements also form the mineral fertilizers. These are Magnesium, Sulphur, and Calcium. Calcium is used in the form of calcium sulphate and calcium nitrate. Magnesium is used in the form of magnesium sulphate.

2. Organic Fertilizers

Any material is termed organic when it has a close association with living organisms. Similarly, organic fertilizers are obtained from animal manures, the outer part of vegetables, crop residue, etc. Cow manure, poultry manure, earthworm casting are certain types of organic fertilizers. Vegetable peels, along with some other products, are dug underground and stored for a more extended period. Later, it turns into organic manure. This method is called Composting. 

Use of Fertilizers in Agriculture

There are various uses of fertilizers:

  1. It helps to feed the significant population of the world.

  2. It helps in employing some people.

  3. Makes proper use of composting and other unused products.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Shifting Agriculture?

Ans: Shifting agriculture is a type of agriculture practiced in ancient days. This process is also coined as 'Jhooming,' Slash and burn kind of farming, etc. The farmer selects a piece of land, cultivates there, and uses the area for a while. But when the land's fertility is lost, the farmer burns the area and evacuates the place. Then, the farmer again searches for another fertile land and repeats the process. It was a popular type of farming, mainly in the North-Eastern states of India. 

2. What is the Green Revolution?

Ans: The world population is increasing day by day. As we all know, population increases in geometric progression, whereas the growth of crops is increasing in arithmetic progression. So it's almost impossible for the world to cope up with such a large number of people. But Dr. Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution, found a new technique of increasing the productivity of crops by the uses of fertilizers and pesticides (to kill or get rid of pests) in agriculture. In India, this technique was first used by M.S.Swaminathan. It increases the production of crops to a large extent.