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Improvement in Crop Yields

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Improvement in Crop Yields:

Crop

Examples

Value

Cereals

Wheat, rice, maize, millets, sorghum

Carbohydrates

Pulses

Gram, black gram, green gram, pigeon pea, lentil

Proteins

Oilseeds

Soybean, groundnut, sesame, castor, mustard, sunflower

Fats

Vegetables, Spices and Fruits

Carrot, Cinnamon, orange, spinach

Minerals, vitamins and small amounts of Carbohydrates, fats and proteins

Fodder crops

Berseem, oats, sudan grass

Food for Livestock

Different crops grow in different Seasons because they require a particular climate temperature and photo period for their growth.

Crop

Season

Example

Kharif

Rainy (June to October)

Rice, maize, millets

Rabi

Winter (November to April)

Soybean, pigeon pea, wheat

Zaid

Summer (March to June)

Sugarcane, Watermelon, Cucumber

Crop Variety Improvement:

In this approach, crops are selected on the basis of their characteristics. For instance, how well they can respond to fertilizers, can they produce high yield, how they resist diseases and so on.

Different methods of Crop Variety Improvement

1. Hybridisation- In this process, genetically different plants are crossbred.

They can be three types of crossing

Intervarietal- Between two varieties of a plant

Interspecific- Between two species belonging to same genus

Inter Generic- Between species of different genus

2.Introduction of Gene- A gene that can provide the desirable characteristics to a crop are introduced in this process. As a result, we obtain genetically modified crops.

Factors on which Crop Yield Generally Depends

The seeds used by the farmers- The seeds that are of similar variety are preferable.

Climate or Weather Conditions- Crops that can sustain diverse climatic conditions are preferable.

The duality of the Soil- Crops that can survive in a highly saline soil are preferable.

Availability of Water- Crops should be grown as per the availability of water in the region.

Some of the factors for which variety improvement is done are:

  • Higher yield: To increase the productivity of the crop per acre.
  • Improved quality: Quality considerations of crop products vary from crop to crop. Baking quality is important in wheat, protein quality in pulses, oil quality in oilseeds and preserving quality in fruits and vegetables.
  • Biotic and abiotic resistance: Crops production can go down due to biotic (diseases, insects and nematodes) and abiotic (drought, salinity, water logging, heat, cold and frost) stresses under different situations. Varieties resistant to these stresses can improve crop production.
  • Change in maturity duration: The shorter the duration of the crop from sowing to harvesting, the more economical is the variety. Such short durations allow farmers to grow multiple rounds of crops in a year. Short duration also reduces the cost of crop production. Uniform maturity makes the harvesting process easy and reduces losses during harvesting.
  • Wider adaptability: Developing varieties for wider adaptability will help in stabilising the crop production under different environmental conditions. One variety can then be grown under different climatic conditions in different areas.
  • Desirable agronomic characteristics: Tallness and profuse branching are desirable characters for fodder crops. Dwarfness is desired in cereals, so that less nutrients are consumed by these crops. Thus developing varieties of desired agronomic characters help give higher productivity.

notes

Efforts to meet the food demand by increasing food production have led to some successes so far. We have had the green revolution, which contributed to increased food-grain production. We have also had the white revolution, which has led to better and more efficient use as well as availability of milk. However, these revolutions mean that our natural resources are getting used more intensively. As a result, there are more chances of causing damage to our natural resources to the point of destroying their balance completely. Therefore, it is important that we should increase food production without degrading our environment and disturbing the balances maintaining it.

The majority of our population depends on agriculture for their livelihood. Increasing the incomes of people working in agriculture is therefore necessary to combat the problem of hunger. Scientific management practices should be undertaken to obtain high yields from farms. For sustained livelihood, one should undertake mixed farming, intercropping, and integrated farming practices, for example, combine agriculture with livestock/poultry/fisheries/ bee-keeping.

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