Agricultural Practices: Definition and Good Practices - Embibe
  • Written By Sagarika Swamy
  • Last Modified 30-09-2022
  • Written By Sagarika Swamy
  • Last Modified 30-09-2022

Agricultural Practices: Definition, Significance, and Procedure

Agricultural Practices: Food is a major requirement for all species to exist. But have you ever wondered how the food is grown? These all happen because of agricultural practices. The small plots of land are used for growing food that not only provides nourishment to animals but to humans as well. Good agricultural practices have been adopted since ancient times.

Implementing good agricultural practices is extremely necessary for a country like India to improve the food supply chain. Furthermore, it is the agricultural practices that play an important role in making farming easy and efficient. In the article below, we have provided information regarding food practices. These agricultural processes are responsible for making food safe and efficient for all. Read further to know more.

What Is Agriculture?

The cultivation and production of crops and plants and raising of livestock for economic purposes and human needs is called agriculture.
In other words, ‘Agriculture is the science and art of farming including the work of cultivating the soil, producing crops, planting forest plants/trees, raising livestock and rearing fishes.’ 

Importance of Agriculture

Given below are some of the benefits of agriculture:

  • Source of livelihood
  • Contribution to national income
  • Supply of food and fodder
  • Source of raw material
  • Foreign exchange resources
  • Great employment opportunities

What Are Basic Agricultural Practices?

Agricultural practices are actually a set of principles that must be applied to agricultural fields to get better agricultural products. These are simply farming approaches that are used to facilitate the process of agriculture.

Steps of Agriculture Practices

Let us go through each step in detail:

1. Landscape Management: A landscape is the apparent factor of a land, its landforms, and combined features of natural or artificial elements. Landscape management includes maintenance and implementation of physical elements, water bodies, land cover, indigenous vegetation, human elements, structures and buildings, and climatic conditions. Landscape management is of great significance in agriculture. Therefore, it is the first in the list of agricultural practices.

Fig: Landscape Management

2. Preparation of Soil/Land: The preparation of the soil is very important because it plays a major role in seed germination. Before the crop is grown, three major steps are carried out for the preparation of soil, namely ploughing, levelling, and manuring.

Fig: Ploughing

a. Ploughing/Tilling: It is a process of loosening and turning the soil by using a plough. The tools used for ploughing the land are plough, hoe, cultivator, etc.

Fig: Tools Used for Ploughing

b. Leveling: Helps in breaking big lumps of soil and it also protects soil from erosion and improves water absorption during irrigation. It is done by the leveller instrument.

Fig: Leveler

c. Manuring: Mixing soil with manure helps increase soil fertility.

Significance of Preparation of Soil

  • The act of ploughing of land makes the root penetrate deeper into the soil.
  • Aeration of roots takes place, and the right amount of water and oxygen is supplied.
  • During the preparation of soil, the unwanted plants or weeds are removed from the soil in the act of ploughing.
  • The large or harmful organisms are destroyed.

3. Sowing: The process of inserting or burning the seeds inside the soil is called sowing. Seeds should be sown at a particular depth, and proper distance or intervals should be maintained between the seeds. The seeds should be free from diseases and viable to get a high-yield crop.

Fig: Sowing

There are different types of methods to sow a seed. A few methods are listed below:
a. Broadcasting: Broadcasting is the method in which seeds are sown manually by scattering those in soil. This method is not suitable for high-yield crops because it reduces the yield due to the unequal distribution of seeds.

Fig: Broad Casting

b. Seed Drill: A seed drill is an iron tube with a funnel at the top. Seeds are poured into the funnel and then released in soil furrows. The main advantage of seed drill is to save time and to sow seeds at the right depth.

Fig: Seed Drill

c. Transplantation: In this, seeds are first sown in nurseries and then the seedlings are transferred to the main field. Example: Paddy.

Fig: Transplantation

4. Manures and Fertilisers: Manures are the organic substance obtained by the decomposition of animal and plant waste. Manure adds nutrients to the soil. They also improve the quality of the soil. The two types of manures are:
a. Farmyard: Consist of cattle dung, urine, etc.
b. Compost: Decomposition of plants, animal wastes, etc.
Fertilisers are inorganic compounds that supply specific nutrients needed for plant growth. Excess usage of fertilisers may also harm the plants. Therefore, each farmer should be aware of the right usage of fertilisers for a specific crop. Example: NPK, Ammonium Sulphate, and Ammonium Phosphate.

Fig: Manures and Fertilisers

5. Irrigation: Water is the major requirement for plant growth. Water supply through various methods for the growing plants is called irrigation. Excess water can damage crops and also leads to waterlogging. The irrigation interval and frequency must be maintained, as it varies with the crop. The natural sources of irrigation are ponds, wells, canals, lakes, etc. The traditional irrigation methods are moat, rahat, chain pump, and dhekli. The modern method of irrigation includes drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation for a better supply of water.

Fig: Traditional Irrigation Methods

Fig: Drip and Sprinkler Irrigation

6. Weeding: The process of removing weeds is called weeding. These are the unwanted plants that grow along with the main plant and can also be harmful. They can be removed manually by using hands or by using sprays of weedicides.

7. Protection of Crops: Crops must be protected from pests and heavy rainfall or natural calamities like floods. The lack of protection leads to lower quality of crops. Pests can reduce crop yield and bore inside the crops.

8. Harvesting, Threshing, and Winnowing: Harvesting is the process of cutting the crops after it is matured. Harvesting is done by two methods:
a. Manual Harvesting: Sickle is used by humans to harvest crops.
b. Mechanical Harvesting: Huge machine called a harvester is used for harvesting.

Fig: Harvesting

Threshing: Threshing is the method of loosening the grains from the chaff or husks after the crops are harvested. It can be done manually or by using a machine to separate all the grain seeds.

Fig: Threshing

Winnowing: Winnowing is the method of separation of grain seeds from the chaff using the help of the wind. Due to the wind, the lighter chaff flies away, and the heavier grains fall.

Fig: Winnowing

9. Storage: Storage is the final step of agricultural practices. The harvested grains are stored in warehouses for future use and selling purposes. Therefore, a better plant protection process must be used to protect grains from rodents and insect pests. Cleaning, fumigation, and drying are done to the warehouse before the grains are stored. The grains are later transported to different places throughout the year.

What Are Sustainable Agricultural Practices?

Definition: Sustainable Agriculture is simply defined as the production of food, fibre, and other plant or animal products by the advanced agricultural techniques in both existing industrialised and traditional agricultural systems that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.

Different Sustainable Agricultural Practices: From many ages, the science of agriculture and practices got advanced.

  • Crop rotation: Planting a variety of crops sequentially in the field instead of the same type of crops can have many benefits, including healthier soil and improved pest control.
  • Planting Cover Crops: Cover crops, like clover or hairy vetch, are planted during off-seasons when soils might otherwise be left bare.
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM): A range of methods, including mechanical and biological controls, can be applied systematically to keep pest populations under control while minimising the use of chemical pesticides.
  • Agroforestry Practices: By mixing trees or shrubs into their operations, farmers can provide shade and shelter to protect plants, animals, and water resources, while also potentially offering additional income.

Summary

Plants and animals grow healthy when we practice organic agriculture. Agriculture plays a major role in India. India is the second-largest producer of staple food. Agriculture practices play an important role in the production of high yields depending on the particular crop. Soil preparation, sowing, manuring, irrigation, weeding, harvesting, and storage are the seven steps of agriculture practices. Excessive use of pesticides and fertilisers in agricultural practices can give a high production of crops, but it causes soil and air pollution at the same time. The proper following of agricultural practices increases healthy living and feeds the large population of our country.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1. What is the importance of agriculture?
Ans: Some of the benefits of agriculture are as follows:

  • Source of Livelihood
  • Contribution to National Income
  • Supply of Food and Fodder
  • Source of Raw Material
  • Foreign Exchange Resources
  • Great Employment Opportunities

Q.2. What are 5 sustainable agriculture practices?
Ans: The 5 sustainable agriculture practices are listed below:

  • Rotating crops
  • Planting cover crops
  • Reducing or eliminating tillage
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • Agroforestry practices

Q.3. What are agricultural practices?
Ans: Agricultural practices are essentially a set of principles that must be applied to agricultural fields to attain better agricultural products. These are simply farming methods that are used to facilitate agriculture.

Q.4. What are the basic agricultural practices?
Ans: Crop rotation, mixed cropping, relay cropping, two-cropping agriculture, multi-cropping agriculture, etc. are a few types of agricultural practices.

Q.5. What are the 7 steps of agriculture?
Ans: Soil preparation, sowing, manuring, irrigation, weeding, harvesting, and storage are the 7 steps of agriculture.

Related Links:

Crop Production and Cropping SystemsMethods of Sustainable Agriculture: Goals & Advantages
Food Production and Management Improvement in Crop Yield: Definition, Objectives & Approaches

Practice Agricultural Practices Questions with Hints & Solutions