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Improvement in Crop Yields - Crop Production Improvement

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Crop Production Management

Different farmers can have small or large farms on which they can use different farming practices. The choice of farming practices would depend upon the availability of financial resources money. Hence, production practices can be divided into different levels

1. No cost Production

2. Low-cost Production

3. High-cost Production

notes

Cropping Patterns:

Different cropping patterns are used by farmers in order to increase the crop yield:

  • Mixed Cropping
  • Intercropping
  • Crop Rotation

Mixed Cropping:

  • It is a cropping pattern in which two or more crops are grown together in the same field.
  • The main aim of this cropping method is to ensure some healed even if one of the crops fails to grow properly.
  • The seeds of different crops are combined and planted together.
  • Same fertilizers are used for all the crops.
  • For Example, wheat and gram, wheat and mustard, groundnut and sunflower.

Intercropping:

  • It is a cropping method in which two or more crops are grown together in a field but in a specific pattern.
  • The seeds of these crops are not combined before plantation.
  • Both the crops used different kinds of fertilizers depending upon their own requirements.
  • The main objective of this method is to ensure the maximum productivity of the crops.
  • Since the crops have different nutrient requirements they would use maximum nutrients from the soil.
  • Diseases and pest would also not easily spread to all the crops.
  • For Example, soybean and maize, finger millets and cowpea.

Crop Rotation

In this cropping method, different types of crops are chosen and irrigated on the same piece of land sequentially.

  • The rotation of crops depends upon the soil, climate and water retention of the soil.
  • If farmers grow the same crop on the land for long-term the same nutrients keep on depleting from the soil which leads to a decrease in the soil fertility.

  • But when crops with different nutritional requirements are grown the soil nutrients get enriched and the fertility of the land is maintained.

  • Different crops are not susceptible to all kinds of pests and diseases.

  • Planting different crops on rotation can lead to a better yield.

  • Crop rotation allows a reduction in the number of fertilizers and pesticides on the fields.

notes

Nutrition Management

16 Essential Nutrients that plants need –

  1. Carbon
  2. hydrogen
  3. oxygen
  4. nitrogen
  5. phosphorous
  6. Potassium
  7. calcium
  8. Magnesium
  9. Sulphur
  10. Boron
  11. Chlorine
  12. Copper
  13. Iron
  14. Manganese
  15. Molybdenum
  16. Zinc

The nutrients that are required in large quantities are called Macronutrients. The nutrients that are required in small quantities by the plants are called Micronutrients.

Air: Carbon, oxygen

water: Hydrogen, Oxygen

Soil:

(i) Macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulphur.

(ii) Micronutrients: iron, manganese, boron, zinc, copper, molybdenum, chlorine.

Deficiency of these nutrients affects physiological processes in plants including reproduction, growth and susceptibility to diseases. To increase the yield, the soil can be enriched by supplying these nutrients in the form of manure and fertilizers.

MANURE

Manure contains large quantities of organic matter and also supplies small quantities of nutrients to the soil. Manure is prepared by the decomposition of animal excreta and plant waste. Manure helps in enriching soil with nutrients and organic matter and increasing soil fertility. The bulk of organic matter in manure helps in improving the soil structure. This involves increasing the water holding capacity in sandy soils. In clayey soils, the large quantities of organic matter help in drainage and in avoiding water logging. In using manure we use biological waste material, which is advantageous in protecting our environment from excessive use of fertilizers.

Based on the kind of biological material used, manure can be classified as:

(i) Compost and vermi-compost: The process in which farm waste material like livestock excreta (cow dung etc.), vegetable waste, animal refuse, domestic waste, sewage waste, straw, eradicated weeds etc. is decomposed in pits is known as composting. The compost is rich in organic matter and nutrients. Compost is also prepared by using earthworms to hasten the process of decomposition of plant and animal refuse. This is called vermi-compost.

(ii) Green manure: Prior to the sowing of the crop seeds, some plants like sun hemp or guar are grown and then mulched by ploughing them into the soil. These green plants thus turn into green manure which helps in enriching the soil in nitrogen and phosphorus.

Fertilizers:

Fertilizers are artificial materials that are produced on a commercial basis or natural substances that ensure nutrient benefits to the soil.

Organic fertilizers used by Farmers: Limestone, rock phosphate

Artificial fertilizers used by Farmers: Ammonium nitrate, potassium sulfate

  • Fertilizers provide important nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus to the soil.

  • They help in the proper growth of the plants.

  • They are responsible for high yields in the high-cost farming methods.

Precautions to be taken:

  • Fertilizers should be applied in a proper amount as an excess of fertilizers is not good for the plants.
  • Proper precautions regarding the time of applying fertilizers should be taken.
  • Excess use of fertilizers can lead to water pollution as the extra fertilizers get washed away during irrigation.
  • Excess use of fertilizers can destroy the fertility of the soil as well.

Difference between manure and fertilizers:

Manure:

1. Manure provides humus to the soil.

2. Manures are less rich in nutrients.

3. Long term usage of manure leads to increment in the fertility of the soil.

Fertilizers:

1. Fertilizers do not provide humus to the soil.

2. Fertilizers are highly rich in nutrients.

3. Long term usage of fertilizers can lead to decrease in the soil fertility.

Organic Farming:

A farming practice which involves no use of artificial chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides and completely relies upon organic matter is known as organic farming. Organic farming uses healthy cropping systems such as crop rotation, intercropping and mixed cropping. Organic matter used in organic farming:

  • Manure
  • Bioagents such as blue-green algae
  • Biofertilizers
  • Neem leaves and turmeric as biopesticides
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