In this article list of agricultural practices and steps of agricultural practices are focus of the study to help agriculturists understand agricultural mechanisms and the needs of the field.
What Are Agricultural Practices
Agricultural practices are essentially a set of principles that must be applied to agricultural fields/processes in order to attain better agricultural products. These are simply farming methods that are used to facilitate agriculture. A list of agricultural practices is discussed below to simplify the farming techniques and field routines.
Agricultural practices influence many important functions and processes of the ecosystem in a variety of ways. They transform matured ecosystems into managed state ecosystems to develop better land and soil texture for agricultural processes. This transformation is generally triggered by tillage, the use of fertilizers, and pesticides.
List of Agricultural Practices
A detailed list of agricultural practices and steps are listed below:
- Landscape management
- Soil/land preparation
- Integrated pest management
- Integrating livestock and crops
- Crop Storage
Steps of Agricultural Practices
There are ten steps of agricultural practices that are performed in the fields:
A landscape is the evident factor of a land, its land-forms, and combined feature of natural or artificial elements. Landscape management includes maintenance and integration of physical elements, water bodies, land cover e.g., indigenous vegetation, human elements e.g., structures and buildings, and climatic conditions. Landscape management is of great importance in agriculture, therefore it is the first in the list of agricultural practices.
In the list of farming practices, soil preparation is placed second because of its importance for seed germination. Before a crop is grown, the soil is leveled and ploughed bit deeply to prepare it for the sowing of seed. After plowing, soil loosens and develops proper aeration in the soil. Plowing makes the soil evenly distributed and leveled through a process known as land leveling. Later the soil is fertilized to compensate for the lost nutrients during the previous harvest.
Seed selection from good quality varieties is the principal step of sowing. After preparing the soil, seeds are spreaded over the field, calling sowing. Manual and mechanical (seeders) methods of sowing can be used. Some plants, such as rice, are first grown as seedlings in a small space and later transplanted to fields.
Plants need nutrients for their growth and fruit/seed production. Therefore, the intake of nutrients is necessary at even intervals. Fertilization is the stage at which nutrients are introduced into the lands. These nutrients can be natural manure or artificial fertilizers. Decomposed products and waste of plants and animals are used as manure because of its nutrient richness. Fertilizers are commercially produced plant nutrients or chemical compounds developed to fulfill the nutrient needs of plants. Manure not only provides nutrients to plants, but also restores soil fertility. Other backfill methods include crop rotation and legumes planting.
Irrigation means supplying water to plants. Water sources can be dams, ponds, wells, canals, etc. Excessive irrigation can damage crops and also lead to water-logging. The irrigation interval and frequency must be monitored, as it varies with the crop.
Un-wanted plants grown alongside filed crops are known as weeds. These plants are removed with the help of weed killers (weedicides), manually plucking with hands. Several weeds can be removed with better soil preparation techniques.
Integrated Pest Management
IPM – Integrated Pest Management, is a successful and ecologically sensitive technique to manage pests using combined sustainable practices. IPM is a series of methods including pest assessment, decision, and controlling techniques. While pesticides help control pests and improve yields, overuse of a particular pesticide results in the development of pesticide resistant breeds.
Various plants have the ability to attract several birds and pests, and farmers can use them as a pest control agent, as beneficial insects, such as lace-wings and lady-bugs. Planting trees around the farm attracts birds to nest there and even feed on insects, thereby controlling the insect population. Farmers can plant trees around the fields which will attract beneficial insects and birds to nest on them. Later those birds will help the farmers in controlling the pest populations.
Integrating Crops and Livestock
Integrating crops and livestock increase the diversity and environment sustainability of both sectors. In meantime, it will offer opportunities to increase overall agricultural production and profitability.
Among steps of farming practices, harvesting needs significant care otherwise it will result in yield reduction. When the crop reaches maturity, the cutting starts, and produce will be stored in a dry place. This process is known as harvesting. After harvesting, manual or mechanical thrashing is done to separate grains from the plants.
In the end steps of agricultural practices, the resulting grains are stored in warehouses for later use and selling purposes. Therefore, better plant protection methods must be used to protect grains from rodents and insect-pests. The stores should be cleaned, dried, well fumigated, etc., before storing grains.
This list of agricultural practices is universal in all regions however the extent of application/implementation of a single practice varies with the land and environmental conditions and crop requirement.