Agronomy is the soul of agricultural sciences. One can tread the path of agricultural sciences if he/she is well-versed in agronomy. It is not an axiom to say that the main focus of agriculture is also agronomy.
Agronomy has three clean branches as follows:
- Crop Sciences: It deals with mainly the production of field crops. Crop production is basically a conversion of environmental inputs like solar energy, carbon dioxide, water, and soil nutrients into economic products in the form of human or animal food or industrial raw materials.
- Soil Sciences: Soils and their origin and impact on crop production etc.
- Environmental Sciences: It deals only with the applied aspects.
Scope of Agronomy
Agronomy has assumed a newer dimension and can be defined as a branch of agricultural science that deals with methods that provide favourable environment to the crop for higher productivity. The traditional methods of cultivation should be avoided and new methods of cultivation should be adopted to meet the requirement of the growing populations of our country.
Principles of Agronomy
- Planning and executing measures for maximum utilization of production inputs like land, labour and capital.
- Preparation of land, leveling and adoption of other suitable land improvement practices and checking of soil erosion mean field management.
- Selection of quality seed and crop varieties suitable for a particular area in a season.
- Choosing the application of manures and fertilizers in a balanced way to increase the crop production.
- Water and its proper management for crop production.
- Adoption of need based plant protection measures to save crop from the attacks of crop enemies like weeds, insect, pest, diseases, rodents etc. causing the crop failure.
- Adoption of suitable method for harvesting of crops in time to reduce field damage and to release the land for succeeding crops and also, adoption of suitable post harvest technologies
- M S Swaminathan: Swaminathan is a global leader in the green revolution. He has been called the main architect of the green revolution in India for his leadership and role in introducing and further developing high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice.
- Norman Borlaug: A recipient of the Nobel Prize and known as the “Father of the Green Revolution” of the 1970s, people such as Borlaug really are the heroes of our industry.
- Ray F. Smith and Perry L. Adkisson agronomists from the United States.
- Monty Jones: Incredible Rice Breeders from Sierra Leone
- Yuan Longping Incredible Rice Breeders from China
- Marc Van Montagu: Plant scientists from Belgium
- Mary-Dell Chilton & Robert T. Fraley Plant Scientist from United States.
Some Basic Key Points of Agronomy
- Crop rotation should be prepared according to the nature of climate and soil.
- It is necessary to include at least one leguminous crop in the crop rotation.
- Soil should be tested before starting the cultivation.
- Organic manures should be applied 3-4 weeks before sowing or planting of crops.
- The balanced fertilizer should be applied according to the result of soil test.
- The crop should be planted by proper method, and in schedule time.
- Proper spacing of the crop should be maintained.
- Irrigation should be given according to the need of the crop.
- Protective measures should be undertaken as soon as the symptoms of the attack of insect, pests and diseases are noticed.
- The crops should be harvested in due time to reduce the loss of the produce.
- Advice of agricultural specialist should be sought if any problems appears in the process of cultivation of crops.
The natural environment that supports plant development on the surface of the earth is soil. The most significant component of the earth’s surface is soil. The earth’s surface’s soil is a solid, liquid, and gaseous phase that, in the right circumstances, may support plant development. Mineral substances, organic matter, soil moisture, and soil air make up the intricate system.
Numerous creatures live in the soil, ranging from minute bacteria to big soil animals like earthworms. Soil microorganisms include the following:
Sustainable Soil Management
It is evident that efforts to avoid soil degradation must become a top priority of our global society in order to maintain and grow food production. Sustainable agriculture is a farming method that focuses on producing food in a way that minimises the damage of ecosystems and natural resources.
This sustainable agricultural technique aims to safeguard environmental resources, especially soil, while also providing economic viability and social equality. The term “sustainable agriculture” is frequently misunderstood to represent that chemical fertilisers and pesticides should never be utilised. This is misleading, because sustainable agriculture should incorporate approaches that give the greatest beneficial services to agroecosystems and foster long-term food supply production within the cultural context of the region. It cannot be emphasized that sustainable practises must incorporate land management measures that prevent soil erosion and safeguard water resources in addition to agricultural output and profit.
Climate and Season of Crops
The climate is a generalised weather or summoration of weather condition over a given region during comparatively target period. The condition of the atmosphere in a place at a certain time or over a certain period is called weather. It is the result of the composite effect of temperature, rainfall, humidity, frost, snows, sunshine and atmospheric pressure which may vary from moment to moment and time to time.
The time between the middle of June to middle of October is called Kharif Season and the crops grown in this season are known as Kharif crop. Kharif crop is generally grown as rainfed crop and high rainfall, high temperature, high relative humidity etc., is essential for this crop.
The time between the middle of October to middle of February is called Rabi Season and the crops grown in this season are known as Rabi crops. Rabi crop is generally grown as an irrigated crop and low temperature and short days are essential for this crop.
Zaid Season or Pre-Kharif
Season : The time between middle of February to middle of June is known as Zaid season and the crops grown in this season are known as Zaid crop. High temperature, long day etc. is essential for the Zaid crop.
Sowing of Seed
Seeds of some crops such as Wheat, Paddy, Jute, Sunhemp, Mustard, Sesamum, Linseed, Groundnut, Gram, Pea, Lentil, Soyabean, Spinach etc. are directly sown in the main field. But seeds of some crops such as Paddy, Vegetables, Seasonal flowers etc. are sown in the seed bed or nursery bed. Seedlings are raised in the nursery bed for the following reasons :
- The seedling of some crops are raised in the nursery bed whose seeds are smaller in size and seedlings need sufficient care during early stage or growth.
- The seeds of some crops that do not response well in direct seeding in the main field are sown in the nursery bed and the seedlings are transplanted in the main field.
- The seedlings are replanted quickly after the crops have been harvested. If the seeds are sown after the field has been prepared, the crops will be late.
- Seedlings are raised in nursery bed with sufficient care and they are protected from the attack of insect pests and disease.
- Rogueing of crops become easy.
Care should be taken for the following points for raising seedlings in the nursery bed.
- Selection of Land for Seed Bed
- Preparation of Seed Bed
- Soil Treatment
- Selection of Seed
Types of Seeds
- Breeder Seed or Nucleus Seed
- Foundation Seed
- Registered Seed
- Certified Seed
Treatment of Seed
Seeds before sowing either in nursery or in main field should be treated by any one of the following method :
- Hot Water Treatment
- Seed Treatment with Organic-Mercuric Compound
- Dry Treatment
- Wet Treatment
- Slurry Treatment
Methods of Sowing Seed
Sowing is an art of placing seed in the soil to have good germination and stand of crop in the field. There are some common methods used for sowing crops as follows :
- Broadcasting: Broadcasting is the process of random scattering of seeds on the surface of seed bed. Broadcasting of seeds canbe done both manually or mechanically.
- Dibbling: Dibbling is the process of placing the seed in the holes made by any convenient implement such as spade, khurip, nirani etc.or by hand.
- Drilling: Drilling is a practice of dropping seeds in furrow lines in continuous flow and covering them with soil.
- Sowing of Seed Behind the Plough: A man drops seed in the furrow behind the plough. The sowing is done by hand behind the plough, Kera in the irrigated area or by pora in the rainfed condition.
Water is one of the most important inputs essential for production of crops. Water plays the major role for successful crop production. Water is essential for the maintenance of turgidity, absorption of nutrients and the metabolic process of plants. Plants need it in huge quantities, continuously throughout their life. Water management is the planned use of water for better utilisation in agriculture.
- Role of Water: Water role as a Solvent. The plant can absorb nutrients when these nutrients are dissolved in water. Water is essential to make the nutrients soluble for absorption by plants.
- Water forms over 90 per cent of plant body weight when they are green. Water is a constituent of protoplasm.
- Plant can synthesize food through Photosynthesis only in presence of water in their system.
- Water is essential for the germination of seeds, growth of plants roots, and nutrition and multiplication of soil organism.
- Water is essential in the hydrolytic process in the plant. It helps in the conversion of starch to sugar.
- Water helps in chemical, physical and biological reaction in soil.
Irrigation is the process of applying water to the soil artificially using tubes, pumps, and sprays. Irrigation is typically used in locations where rainfall is irregular, dry seasons are forecast, or drought is predicted. There are several types of irrigation systems that supply water consistently to the entire field. Irrigation water can come from groundwater, through springs or wells, surface water, through rivers, lakes, or reservoirs, or even other sources, such as treated wastewater or desalinated water.
Types of Irrigation Systems
- Surface irrigation
- Drip irrigation
- Sprinkler irrigation
- Localized irrigation
- Center pivot irrigation
- Manual irrigation
Sources of Irrigation
Surface water is supplied by flowing river water or still-waters from tanks, ponds, lakes, ponds, or constructed reservoirs such as dams, barrages, and diversionary bunds of various storage capacities. Irrigation using canals under various river valley projects in our nation is profitable since the water from the river is brought to the field by gravity and is thus cheap. Water from other sources is transferred to the field by raising it with irrigation water lifting equipment. In our nation, a river lift irrigation project is also in operation. River or stream water is raised and used to irrigate a small command area near to such water systems.
Ground water is water that has been enhanced underground by percolation of surface water through the porous layers of the earth’s crust. Wells are dug or drilled to access subsurface water. It might be shallow (30-40 feet) or deep (100 feet) Well water is lifted before it may be utilised for irrigation. The command area for shallow tubewell irrigation and deep tubewell irrigation is 10-12 acres and 100 acres, respectively.
Manures and Fertilizers
The word of manure is originated from Latin word Manu (hand) and operare (works). Manures are organic compounds that are capable of supplying plant nutrients in accessible manner, bulky in nature, have a poor analytical value, and have no particular composition, and the majority of them are produced from animal and plant waste products.
Fertilizers are inorganic materials that may offer plant nutrients in a readily available form, have a high analytical value, and a fixed composition, and are often industrial products. A fertiliser is a compound that is put to the soil to offer chemical ingredients required for plant nourishment and to promote soil fertility.
- Bulcky Organic Manures like Village compost, Town compost, Cattle manure, Ship Penning and Poultry manure.
- Green Manures: Leguminous plant, Non-leguminous plant
- Oil Cake: Mustard cake, Groundnut cake, Linseed cake, Sesame cake, Castor Cake, Neem Cake, Sunflower Cake,
- Waste Product of Slaughter House: Blood meal, Bone meal,
- Fish Product
- Nitrogenous Fertilisers : Sources of nitrogen.
- Phosphatic Fertilizers
- Potasic Fertilizer : Sources of Potassium
- Compound Fertilizers
- Mixed Fertilisers
Vermicompost is becoming increasingly popular in agriculture. It is created and utilised to reclaim their place in the agricultural field. Earthworms do not exist in areas where chemical fertilisers and pesticides are widely employed. Vermi compost is made in a properly designed pit utilising earth worms. Vermi compost is made from several types of farm waste that are readily available. It is also available in stores.
- Agriculture is a main source to meet our basic need. Crop cultivation is an important aspect of agriculture to meet the demand of growing population. Crop cultivation suffers due to attacks of pest.
- The irrigation and drainage channels should be kept free from weed to avoid the spreading of weeds.
- The irrigation water should not be contaminated with weed seeds and other propagules of weeds.
- The cattle should not be allowed to move from weed infested area to clean or cultivated.
- The farm implements and machinery should be cleaned properly after their use in weed infested fields and before using them in clean fields.
- The weeds should be destroyed as soon as they are seen to emerge.
- Rotation of crops is an efficient way to reduce weed growth which means growing of different
- kinds of crops on the same land in proper and well planned sequence.
- Hand weeding is the most efficient and easiest method of controlling weeds in cropped
- Pulling out of weeds by hand or uprooting weeds by using small hand tools is known as hand weeding.
- Hoeing includes the use of some agricultural implements such as spade, nirani, khurpi harrow, cultivator, wheel hoe etc.
- Biological Methods: In biological weed control, a “Natural enemy” of the plant is used which is harmless to desired plants.
- Chemical Method : In this method, chemicals are used for controlling weeds very effectively. The chemicals that are used to kill weeds are called herbicides.
Crop harvesting in agricultural fields is done with a variety of equipment and machines. Harvesting instruments such as a sickle, darat, gandasa, axe, and so on are used to harvest crops such as rice, wheat, maize, grass, and so on. Harvesting methods include manual harvesting, harvesting with hand tools, and harvesting with machines. Harvesting is divided into four stages: reaping, threshing, cleaning, and transporting. The importance of harvesting crops with improved technology lowers grain waste while increasing quality and quantity.
Storage of Crops
Farmers use the harvested crop for themselves in small-scale farming, whereas large-scale production is mostly for selling. As a result, farmers must store the grains. This necessitates the provision of enough storage space. Inadequate storage space and poor storage procedures might result in significant grain loss.
Microbes such as bacteria and fungus, as well as environmental variables such as moisture and temperature, may damage stored grains in addition to pests and rodents. As a result, adequate treatment is necessary prior to storing the grains.
Pesticides can be used to prevent rodent infestations. Fungal development on grains is caused by a damp atmosphere. This may be avoided by properly drying grains in the sun.
Fumigation is another approach that uses chemicals to keep bacteria and other microbes at bay. Grain must be kept in gunny bags or granaries after proper preparation and dumped in godowns.
Major Agronomic Crops
- Cereal Crop: Rice, wheat, maize, barley etc.
- Pulse crops: Lentil, grass pea, mung bean (green gram), black gram, cowpea, soybean etc.
- Oil seed crops: Rapeseed, mustard, sesame, safflower, sunflower, groundnut, linseed, soybean etc.
- Fiber crops: Cotton, stem or bark such as jute, kenaf, mesta, sunnhemp etc.
- Fodder crops: Utilized as feed for animals such as cow pea, maize, para grass, napier grass etc.
- Green manuring crops: Plant materials in soil at green stage for improving the soil, are known as green manuring crops. e.g. dhaincha, cowpea, sunnhemp, green gram etc.
- Fuel crops: Dhaincha etc.
- Sugar crops: Crops grown for the production of sugar and starch, such as sugarcane, sugar beet etc.
- Beverage crops: Crops that products are used for mild, agreeable, and stimulating liqueurs meant for drinking such as tea, coffee, cocoa, etc.
- Narcotic crops: Crop plants or their products that are used for stimulating effects are known as narcotic crops that is tobacco, cannabis etc.
Agronomic engineering is one of the engineering subfields. In a sense, it is a combination of agriculture and technology. India is an agrarian country, the agriculture industry and its linked businesses are in high demand. Because of this requirement, agricultural engineering courses have been developed in which students study the Indian agricultural system and its interactions with technology. The agriculture sector’s development possibilities have improved the attraction of this course.
Precision farming is a farming method that use information technology to guarantee that crops and soil receive exactly what they require for optimal health and yield. Precision farming mission is to achieve profitability, sustainability, and environmental preservation. Precision agriculture, as-needed farming, and site-specific crop management are other terms for precision agronomy.
Precision farming entails obtaining real-time precise data regarding crop, soil, and ambient air conditions, as well as local weather forecasts, labour prices, and equipment availability. Farmers may view individual plants in real time thanks to satellites and unmanned drones. This assists the farmer in avoiding resource waste and preventing run-off, ensuring that the soil contains precisely the correct quantity of additives for optimal health, while also lowering expenses and regulating the farm’s environmental effect. Precision agriculture is now possible for farming cooperatives and even tiny family farms thanks to mobile apps, smart sensors, drones, and cloud computing.
A farm management tool called Granular is intended to increase agricultural output and bring in as much money from crops as feasible. By creating farm plans for each field and predicting the ideal water requirements and climatic influence on various crops, Granular assists farmers with crop and field planning. The technology uses extensive data analysis to evaluate the worth of each field and provides farmers with real-time analytics reports to aid in fast and accurate decision-making.
- Granular offers customers a thorough analysis of profitability at the crops, field, and enterprise levels.
- Granular offers analytics and real-time data on commodity training and the effects of input pricing on financial results.
- Farmers can better plan for crop failure or unforeseen changes in the fields mid-season thanks to Granular’s knowledge and experience.
- With the help of the programme, customers may get all the latest news about farms, crop prices, soil profiles, and other topics on their mobile devices.
- Users may compare their farming practises, crop quality, and cultivation techniques to those of the greatest farmers in the nation.
Q. What is the study of agronomy?
Answer: Literally, it means the art of managing fields and technically it means the science and economics of Crop Production by management of farmlands. Agronomy is the science of modifying the complex crop environment with the dual goals of boosting agricultural productivity and understanding the mechanisms at work.
Q. Who is the Indian father of agronomy?
Answer: M S Swaminathan