In this article, the major focus is done on 20 major branches of agriculture and their sub-related fields for the ease of understanding the agricultural field. A list of Agriculture Universities and offering specializations is already posted.
What is Agriculture
The word “agriculture” is derived from two Latin words, “Ager/Agri” means “soil” and “Cultura” means “cultivation”. Agriculture is a practical science that includes all attributes of crop production and development involving agronomy, forestry, horticulture, fishing, live stock, etc.
Agriculture is well-defined as the art, science, and business of crop cultivation and livestock rearing for economic objectives.
Art: This includes knowing how to skillfully perform farm operations, but certainly doesn’t involve knowledge of the operative principles behind the farm management.
Science: Use of all the available technologies developed according to scientific values such as plant breeding, production, protection, economic methods, etc. to increase crop yield and farm profit. Techniques e.g., new crop varieties production by crossbreeding of pest and disease resistant plant varieties, production of crop hybrids, varieties with high sensitivity to fertilizers, water management, herbicides for weed control, the use of bio-control agents for pest and diseases, etc. are all included in science.
Business: As long as agriculture is a rural lifestyle, food production is eventually linked to consumption. However, as a business, it seeks to maximize its bottom line by managing agricultural labor, capital, and water using the information to produce food, fiber, feed, and fuel. Recently, agriculture has transformed into a commercial category to be adapted as a business through modern automation.
Agriculture includes several fields like horticulture, seed growing, dairy farming, and animal husbandry, use of land as pastures, grasslands, vegetable gardens, and forest nurseries, and the use of land for forests where they are used for agricultural purposes and use of land for agricultural purposes. ”
Evolution of Agriculture and Role of Humans
Agriculture has passed through several stages during the process of agricultural development and human civilization. Humans have played a significant role in agriculture development by engaging them in hunting, cattle breeding, crop cultivation, and trade.
Hunting: It used to be the main food source. This is an important occupation and has been around for a very long time.
Pastoral: People received food from domestic animals, such as dogs, buffalo, horses, cows, etc. While living on the edges of the forests, to feed the animals, humans kept migrating from place to place in search of food.
Crop Culture: Living by the riverbeds, humans obtained enough water for their animals and domestic plants and began to grow them. This led them to settle in one place building communities.
Trade: When humans began to produce more than their needs, they started exchanging the surplus for other useful products, from there the trading started. With agriculture development, the infrastructures such as roads, routes, etc. also started developing. Agriculture became civilized, starting with a trading culture.
Branches of Agriculture
There are 20 major Branches of Agriculture:
- Plant Breeding and Genetics
- Seed Science
- Plant Pathology
- Plant Protection
- Soil Science
- Agriculture Biotechnology
- Agriculture Engineering
- Agriculture Economics
- Animal Husbandry
- Environmental Sciences
- Food Science and Technology
- Land and Water Management
- Agricultural Chemistry
- Agricultural Microbiology
- Home Science
As we know that agriculture is a vast field and has several branches and sub-branches. A detailed explanation of fields of agriculture is given below:
Branch of agriculture deal with the cultivation of crops, forage, food, fiber, oil-seeds, sugar, etc. The primary aim of this branch is to improve food production and cropping techniques. It is the most important branch among all branches of agriculture. It covers vast types of agricultural practices like permaculture, aquaponics, polyhouse farming, etc.
Branches of Agronomy
There are 2 branches of agronomy:
1. Weed Sciences
Study of vegetation growth and management in agriculture fields, natural zones, and in urban and residential areas.
2. Organic Farming
A method of growing plants and animals naturally is known as organic farming. This involves biological materials, and averting the use of synthetic substances, to sustain soil fertility and ecological stability, minimalizing waste and environmental pollution. Moreover, the growing of microgreens also comes under organic farming.
Branch of agriculture which deal with the plant’s cultivation that is directly used by humans for food, medicine, and aesthetic purposing.
Branches of Horticulture
There are 7 branches of horticulture:
Branch dealing with fruit cultivation is known as pomology.
Branch of horticulture dealing with vegetable cultivation such as beans, tomatoes, etc.
The branch of horticulture deals with flower cropping such as roses, carnations, etc, and gardening.
Branch of horticulture deals with the assortment, planting, maintenance, and removal of trees, shrubs, and other woody plants.
Branch of horticulture dealing with the production, presentation, and care of landscapes, flowers, and other plants.
Cultivation and retailing grapes are known as viticulture.
Study of all the characteristics of wine plant and wine-making.
Plant Breeding and Genetics
Branch of agriculture defined as the art and science of modifying the genetic structure and plant traits to obtain the desired characters.
The branch deal with the seed structure and growth habitats starting from fertilization, egg development, and growing into a new plant. Seed science is closely related to biochemistry, botany, genetics, and other biosciences.
Crop physiology is the study of the functions and responses of plants grown in different environments. It is one of the most basic fields of agriculture.
Plant pathology deal with the causes of disease, instabilities in plants, and the treatment of plant diseases.
Plant protection is a branch of agriculture that aims to prevent damage from disease, insect-pests, and weeds.
Among several branches of agriculture, soil science is of great significance because of its direct influence on plant growth and nutrient supply.
The study of soil as a natural body that is created by natural forces on the surface of the earth on which plants grow. The study of soil properties in relation to soil use and management, soil classification, formation, and mapping of the chemicals, physical, biological, and soil fertility properties, is known as soil science.
Branches of Soil Science
Among other branches of agriculture, soil science is the most important because it is the primary source of nutrition for the plants. There are 10 branches of soil science:
1. Soil Chemistry
Study of chemical compositions, properties, and soil processes.
2. Soil Biology
It concerns organisms living on the earth, their biology, function, and activities e.g., nematodes and insects.
3. Soil Mineralogy
Branch focuses on primary and secondary soil-minerals and their soil contribution, to develop physical, and chemical structure of the soil. It also focuses on soil fertility and biology.
4. Soil Genesis and Classification (Pedology)
Soil formation is associated with rocks and minerals weathering, as well as with aspects and courses of soil formation. Soil classification is a division of soil into groups based on their properties.
5. Soil Physics
The mechanical behavior of the mass of the soil especially with water and soil energy.
6. Soil Fertility
It is about the capability of the soil to deliver plants with the essential nutrients for their growth and development.
7. Soil Salinity
Study of the excess of soluble-salts contained in the soil, their extraction, and soil treatment for agriculture.
8. Soil Survey
Soil science involves the systematic inspection of soils on-site and in the laboratory, their classification, interpretation, and mapping.
9. Soil Conservation
It is concerned with protecting the soil from physical destruction as a result of erosion (from water and wind) or chemical destruction. Thus, soil protection is associated with a mixture of all management and land-use approaches that protect the soil from destruction due to natural or anthropogenic factors.
10. Soil Microbiology
While dealing with several fields of agriculture, soil microbiology examines soil for microbial communities. It deals with their role and characteristics in soil fertility and land reclamation, and particular plant nutrition through rooting or diseases caused by phytopathogenic microbes in the soil.
Branch of agriculture that studies insects and pests that are important to agriculture.
Branches of Entomology
There are 13 branches of entomology:
1. Insect Ecology
The study of the relationship between insects and their environment. This section is devoted to the study and analysis of the ecosystem for the existence of insects. The goal is to protect insects from being removed or exterminated.
2. Insect Morphology
In this area of entomology, the body parts of insects and their functions are studied. This branch is mainly associated with the outer parts of the insect’s body.
3. Insect Pathology
This area of entomology studies diseases, and pathogens that can harm and affect the well-being of insects. To save beneficial insects, the scientist use pathogens or vectors to get free of certain harmful insect pests.
4. Insect Physiology
This deals with the numerous body function and behavior systems of an insect. This includes studying the various behaviors of insects in relation to the ecosystem.
5. Insect Toxicology
The study of how insecticides and other-chemicals affect the physiological functions of insects.
6. Insect Taxonomy
Insect taxonomy is a practice of insect naming. This is an ongoing process as several un-identified insects are still roaming planet Earth.
7. Industrial Entomology
The Entomology branch deals with the cultivation of insects for commercial or economic purposes. These include honey bees, bumblebees, butterflies, silkworms, etc. This branch is concerned with the benefits of humanity. On the other way, this also applies to the removal of harmful insects from houses such as cockroaches, termites, house flies, etc.
8. Medical and Veterinary Entomology
Insects harms not only human beings but also animals. It covers all aspects related to veterinary health and medicine such as malaria, dengue, etc.
9. Biological Control Entomology
The use of insects against harm-full insects. Use of friendly insects to take care of harmful insects known as biological control, e.g., wheat aphid ate by ladybird.
10. Post-Harvest Entomology
Branch concerned with the study and insect control that harm stored food such as rice, wheat, etc.
11. Forest Entomology
Study of the effects of insects’ on forest and forest-products and development of a solution to protect forest trees from extreme damages.
12. Forensic Entomology
Branch deals with the study of insects for legal purposes focus on the use of insects to clarify the place and time of human health.
13. Crop Protection Entomology
Studies ways to control insects before harming the field crops are known as crop-protection entomology, also “agricultural entomology”.
Branch of agriculture which includes the application of scientific techniques and tools, involving vaccines, molecular markers, genetic engineering, and tissue culture, to alter the genome of living organisms to develop improved organisms e.g., crops and livestock.
In relation to several other fields of agriculture, currently, agricultural biotechnology is of major focus because of its genetic approach. Researchers believe that transgenic crops and animals could be a source to maintain a suitable food supply and fulfill global food needs.
Works with agriculture machinery for preparation, sowing, harvesting, and post harvesting operations, counting water and soil protection technologies and bioenergy.
Branches of Agriculture Engineering
There are 3 branches of agriculture engineering:
The use of agricultural machinery to automate agricultural work, which significantly increases the productivity of agricultural workers and production efficiency, mechanization promotes large-scale production.
2. Farm Power and Machinery
Branch of agriculture in which the utilization and care of agricultural tools, machines, and structures are done.
3. Farm Structures
A building on a farm is used for agricultural purposes. especially large-scale farms used to accommodate farmer and their families or farm workers. Some of them can be utilized for growing crops, rearing live stock, etc.
An applied economic field that studies human behavior with respect to the relation-ship between food and fiber production and distribution.
Branches of Agriculture Economics
There are 7 fields of agriculture economics:
1. Agrarian System
Economic and technical factors affecting agronomic practices.
Several businesses including agriculture product processing and farming, supply of seed, agrochemicals, equipment, marketing, and retail, etc. are all included in agribusiness.
3. Agricultural Extension
Formerly known as the implementation of the latest research and knowledge to agriculture practice through farmer trainings. The expansion area now includes a wider ranges of communications and training activities planned by professionals in various fields for the rural population, including agriculture, marketing, health-care, and business management.
4. Agricultural Marketing
Covers services related to the movement of agriculture products from farm to consumers, direct or indirect transfers.
5. Custom Harvesting
The business of collecting plants for others. Harvesting is done with other people’s harvester every year instead of buying their own. Custom harvesters usually have their own harvesters, and they work on the same farms every harvest season. Thanks to custom harvesting, farmers do not need to invest in expensive equipments while making the most of the machinery’s use for a low cost.
6. Economic Development
Sustained concentrated action by politicians and communities to improve living standards and economic health.
7. Rural Community Development
A set of approaches and activitiess aimed at improving the well-being and life of people living in rural areas. Improving rural activities will sustain population stability by lowering rural urban migration.
Forestry is engaged in the extensive cultivation/farming of perennial plants for the supply of rubber, timber, etc. as well as industrial raw-materials.
Branches of Forestry
There are 6 branches of forestry:
Agroforestry is a science that deals with land-use management system for growing trees, shrubs, on or between crops.
2. Rangeland Management
Natural science focuses on the study of pastures and “the maintenance and sustainable supervision of drylands for the benefit of today’s society and future generations.
3. Wildlife Management
Studies to balance the wildlife with those needs of humans using the latest scientific evidence.
4. Analog Forestry
A system of planned managed forests that are primarily used in tropical or sub-tropical zones.
5. Forest Gardening
A low maintenance plant-based food and agro-forestry system grounded on forest eco-systems with fruits and nuts trees, shrub, grasses, vine, and perennial vegetables that benefit directly from the yield.
6. Forest Farming
Agro-forestry practices are categorized by 4 I’s – Intentional, Intensive, Integrated, and Interactive supervision of a prevailing forest ecosystem in which forest-health is supreme.
Branch of agriculture engaged in the agriculture exercise of breeding and rearing of livestock to provide people with food and energy (drafts) and crop manure.
Branches of Animal Husbandry
There are 9 branches of animal husbandry:
1. Dairy Farming
Human demand for milk is met by the dairy sector, which means the long term accessibility and production of milk, which is then treated to ultimately meet society’s milk needs.
A branch of agriculture that cultivates silk, which grows silkworms for silk production and commercial purpose, especially the Bombyx mori L. species.
3. Aquaculture (Fishery)
Branch engaged in fish farming and rearing, counting marine and in-land fish to provide food and manure.
A specialized aquaculture industry that includes the rearing of the marine organism for food and added products in the ocean, in closed areas, or in reservoirs filled with sea water.
An essential branch that studies a noble diverse group of round worms known as nematodes, which are found in virtually all environments around the world.
6. Apiculture or Beekeeping
Beekeeping means raising and keeping colonies of honey bees, usually in artificial and natural hives, to obtain honey from bees and other bee goods.
Poultry farming is also one of the branches that deal with birds that are bred to meet the food requirements for eggs, meat, and feathers.
8. Nomadic Pastoralism
Rearing of livestock during the phase of migration from region to region in pasture and clean water search.
Concerned with the rearing and breeding of pigs for the live-stock needs.
Field that mixes biological, physical, and informational science in the study of the environment and solving ecological problems.
Branches of Environmental Sciences
There are 2 branches of environmental sciences:
1. Energy & Environment
Branch deal with the potential of bio-energy as an economical engine for rural growth and a growing awareness of worldwide climatic change.
Agro-meteorology deal with studies of the environment’s physical conditions for the cultivation of plants or animals.
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Food Science and Technology
Among known fields of agriculture, food science and technology uses a variety of approaches to study the composition of food, processing, packaging, and selection of existing foods products.
Branches of Food Science and Technology
There is one branch of food science and technology:
1. Food and Nutrition
Corporal and economical access to decent and cheap nutritious food is a primary function of the agriculture sector by supporting an increase in production, improving storage and post-harvest handling, and reducing transporting costs.
Land and Water Management
The process of management and expansion of land-resources. Resources are mainly used for organic farming, water management, reforestation, and ecotourism projects.
Branches of Land and Water Management
There are 2 branches of land and water management:
1. Soil and water conservation
This branch deal with reducing runoff through structures or land-use to reduce erosion.
2. Irrigation & Drainage
Irrigation and drainage, artificial land irrigation, or artificial excess-water removal from the land. As some areas need to be irrigated or drained already so can be used for agriculture.
Among branches of agriculture, this specific branch deals with chemistry, particularly organic and bio-chemistry, related to agriculture, production and the raw food processing into desired foods and drinks, and environment restoration.
Branch of agriculture deal with the part micro-biology that deals with microbes linked with diseases of plants and animals. Deal with the study of soil fertility restoring micro-biology e.g., microbial decomposition of organic matters and the conversion of nutrients in the soil.
A most interesting branch of agriculture deal with the best application and use of agriculture products in healthier means.