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farming systems in india

By Yashvi-Shah Sep 21, 2013 2472 Words
india comprises various farming systems that are strategically utilized, according to the locations where they are most suitable. The farming systems that significantly contribute to the domestic GDP of India are subsistence farming, organic farming, and industrial farming. Regions throughout India differ in types of farming they use; some are based on horticulture, ley farming, agro forestry, and many more.[1] Due to India's geographical location, certain parts experience different climates, thus affecting each region's agricultural productivity differently. India is very dependent on its monsoon-based periodic rainfall. If it weren't for large government involvement in storage of water for agricultural irrigation, only some parts of India would receive rainfall throughout the year, making many other regions arid. Dependency on these monsoons is risky because there are great variations in the average amount of rainfall received by the various regions. Season-to-season variations of rainfall are also significant and the consequences of these are bumper harvests and crop searing. For this reason, irrigation in India is one of the main priorities in Indian farming. India agriculture has an extensive background which goes back to at least 10 thousand years. Currently the country holds the second position in agricultural production in the world. Despite the steady decline in agriculture's contribution to the country's GDP, India agriculture is the biggest industry in the country and plays a key role in the socioeconomic growth of the country. India is the second biggest producer of wheat, rice, cotton, sugarcane, silk, groundnuts, and dozens more. It is also the second biggest harvester of vegetables and fruit, representing 8.6% and 10.9% of overall production, respectively. India also has the biggest number of livestock in the world, holding 281 million. In 2008, the country housed the second largest number of cattle in the world with 175 million. Climate Effect on Farming Systems

Each region in India has a specific soil and climate that is only suitable for certain types of farming. Regions on the eastern side of India experience less than 50 cm of rain annually, so the farming systems are restricted to cultivate crops that can withstand drought conditions and farmers are usually restricted to single cropping. On the contrary, the western side of India has an average of 100–200 cm of rainfall annually without irrigation, so these regions have the ability to double crop. There are three different types of crops that are cultivated throughout India. Each type is grown in a different season depending on their compatibility with certain weather. Kharif crops are grown at the start of the monsoon until the beginning of the winter, relatively from June to November. Examples of such crops are rice, corn, millets, groundnut, moong, and urad. Rabi crops are sown from the beginning of the winter until the beginning of the summer, generally from October to April. Crops grown at this time of year are wheat, barley, grain, oilseeds, and more. Zaid crops are rarer than the prior two because they are grown in the short season of the summer. Watermelons and cucumbers are examples of zaid crops.[5] Irrigation Farming

Irrigation farming is when crops are grown with the help of irrigation systems by supplying water to land through rivers, reservoirs, tanks, and wells. Over the last century, the population of India has tripled. India faces the daunting task of increasing its food production by over 50 percent in the next two decades, and reaching towards the goal of sustainable agriculture requires a crucial role of water. Close to three fifths of India’s grain harvest comes from irrigated land. The main strategy for these irrigation systems focuses on public investments in surface systems, such as large dams, long canals, and other large-scale works that require large amounts of capital. Between 1951 and 1990, nearly 1,350 large- and medium-sized irrigation works were started, and about 850 were completed. The most ambitious of these projects was the Indira Gandhi Canal. The Indira Gandhi Canal is the world's longest irrigation canal. By the 1980s a dramatic change had already taken place in this hot and inhospitable wasteland. As a result, desert dwellers switched from raising goats and sheep to raising wheat. Types of Commercial Agriculture

Intensive Commercial Farming:
This is a system of agriculture in which relatively large amounts of capital or labor are applied to relatively smaller areas of land. It is usually practiced where the population pressure is reducing the size of landholdings. West Bengal practices intensive commercial farming.[9] Extensive Commercial Farming:

This is a system of agriculture in which relatively small amounts of capital or labour investment are applied to relatively large areas of land. At times, the land is left fallow to regain its fertility. It is mostly mechanized because of the cost and availability of labour. It usually occurs at the margin of the agricultural system, at a great distance from market or on poor land of limited potential and is usually practiced in the tarai regions of southern Nepal. Crops grown are sugarcane, rice and wheat.[9] Ley Farming

With increases in both human and animal populations in the Indian arid zone, the demand for grain, fodder, and fuel wood is increasing. Agricultural production in this region is low due to the low and uneven distribution of rainfall and the low availability of essential mineral nutrients. These demands can be met only by increasing production levels of these arid soils through adoption of farming technologies that improve physical properties as well as biological processes of these soils. In India's dry lands, ley farming is used as a way to restore soil fertility. It involves rotations of grasses and food grains in a specific area. It is now being promoted even more to encourage organic farming, especially in the dry lands.[10] Ley farming acts as insurance against crop failures by frequent droughts. Soil fertility can be increased and maintained by enhancing the natural soil biological processes. Plantation Farming

This extensive commercial system is characterized by cultivation of a single cash crop in plantations of estates on a large scale. Because it is a capital centered system, it is important to be technically advanced and have efficient methods of cultivation and tools including fertilizers and irrigation and transport facilities. Examples of this type of farming are the tea plantations in Assam and West Bengal, the coffee plantations in Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, and the rubber plantations in Kerala and Maharashtra.[11] Dairy Farming

In 2001 India became the world leader in milk production with a production volume of 84 million tons. India has about three times as many dairy animals as the USA, which produces around 75 million tons. Dairy Farming is generally a type of subsistence farming system in India. More than 40% of Indian farming households are engaged in milk production because it is a livestock enterprise in which they can engage with relative ease to improve their livelihoods. Regular milk sales allow them to move from subsistence to earning a market-based income. More than 40 million households in India are at least partially dependent on milk production, and developments in the dairy sector will have important repercussions on their livelihoods and on rural poverty levels. Co-operative Farming

Co-operative farming is a relatively new system in India. Its goal is to bring together all of the land resources of farmers in such an organized and united way so that they will be collectively in a position to grow crops on every bit of land to the best of the fertility of the land. This system has become an essential feature of India’s Five Year Plans. There is an immense scope for co-operative farming in India although the movement is as yet in its infancy. The progress of co-operative financing in India has been very slow. The reasons are fear of unemployment, attachment to land, lack of proper propaganda renunciation of membership by farmers and existence of take societies. MIXED FARMING

Mixed farming is common worldwide. Obviously, mixing has both advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include the possibility of reducing risk, spreading labour and re-utilizing resources. The importance of these advantages and disadvantages differs according to the socio-cultural preferences of the farmers and to the biophysical conditions as determined by rainfall, radiation, soil type and disease pressure. What counts is the yield of the total, not of the parts. There is wide variation in mixed systems. Even pastoralists practise a form of mixed farming since their livelihood depends on the management of different feed resources and animal species. At a higher level, a region can consist of individual specialized farms and service systems that together act as a mixed system. Teak and Bamboo

Teak and bamboo plantations in India are a good alternative crop solution to farmers of central India, where conventional farming is popular. Due to rising input costs of farming many farmers have grown teak and bamboo plantations because they only require water during the first two years. Bamboo, once planted, provides the farmer with output for 50 years until it flowers. Production of these two trees positively impacts and contributes to the climate change problem in India.[12] Forestry

In contrast to a naturally regenerated forest, tree plantations are typically grown as even-aged monocultures, primarily for timber production. Plantation owners will grow trees that are best suited to industrial applications such as pine, spruce, and eucalyptus due to their fast growth rate, tolerance of rich or degraded agricultural land, and potential to produce large quantities of raw material for industrial use. Plantations are always young forests in ecological terms; this means that these forests don't contain the type of growth, soil or wildlife that is typical of old-growth natural ecosystems in a forest. The replacement of natural forest with tree plantations has also caused social problems. Because these plantations are made solely for the production of one material, there is a much smaller range of services for the local people. India has taken measures to avoid this by limiting the amount of land that can be owned by someone. Pruning

Pruning is a horticultural and silvicultural practice involving the selective removal of parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots. Reasons to prune plants include deadwood removal, shaping (by controlling or directing growth), improving or maintaining health, reducing risk from falling branches, preparing nursery specimens for transplanting, and both harvesting and increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits. The practice entails targeted removal of diseased, damaged, dead, non-productive, structurally unsound, or otherwise unwanted tissue from crop and landscape plants. Specialized pruning practices may be applied to certain plants, such as roses, fruit trees, and grapevines. Different pruning techniques may be deployed on herbaceous plants than those used on perennial woody plants. Hedges, by design, are usually (but not exclusively) maintained by hedge trimming, rather than by pruning. Arborists, orchardists, and gardeners use various garden tools and tree cutting tools designed for the purpose, such as hand pruners, loppers, or chainsaws. In nature, meteorological conditions such as wind, ice and snow, and salinity can cause plants to self-prune. This natural shedding is called abscission. TYPES

Thinning: A more drastic form of pruning, a thinning out cut is the removal of an entire shoot, limb, or branch at its point of origin.[1] This is usually employed to revitalize a plant by removing over-mature, weak, problematic, and excessive growths. When performed correctly, thinning encourages the formation of new growth that will more readily bear fruit and flowers. This is a common technique in pruning roses and for implifying and "opening-up" the branching of neglected trees, or for renewing shrubs with multiple branches. •Topping: Topping is a very severe form of pruning which involves removing all branches and growths down to a few large branches or to the trunk of the tree. When performed correctly it is used on very young trees, and can be used to begin training younger trees for pollarding or for trellising to form an espalier. •Raising removes the lower branches from a tree in order to provide clearance for buildings, vehicles, pedestrians, and vistas. •Reduction reduces the size of a tree, often for clearance for utility lines. Reducing the height or spread of a tree is best accomplished by pruning back the leaders and branch terminals to lateral branches that are large enough to assume the terminal roles (at least one-third the diameter of the cut stem). Compared to topping[disambiguation needed], reduction helps maintain the form and structural integrity of the tree.[2] Hydroponics

Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture and is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such asperlite, gravel, mineral wool, expanded clay or coconut husk. Researchers discovered in the 18th century that plants absorb essential mineral nutrients as inorganic ions in water. In natural conditions, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth. When the mineral nutrients in the soil dissolve in water, plant roots are able to absorb them. When the required mineral nutrients are introduced into a plant's water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive. Almost any terrestrial plant will grow with hydroponics. Hydroponics is also a standard technique in biology research and teaching. Aeroponics

Aeroponics is a system wherein roots are continuously or discontinuously kept in an environment saturated with fine drops (a mist or aerosol) of nutrient solution. The method requires no substrate and entails growing plants with their roots suspended in a deep air or growth chamber with the roots periodically wetted with a fine mist of atomized nutrients. Excellent aeration is the main advantage of aeroponics. Aeroponic techniques have proved to be commercially successful for propagation, seed germination, seed potato production, tomato production, leaf crops, and micro-greens.[9] Since inventor Richard Stoner commercialized aeroponic technology in 1983, aeroponics has been implemented as an alternative to water intensive hydroponic systems worldwide. Another distinct advantage of aeroponics over hydroponics is that any species of plants can be grown in a true aeroponic system because the micro environment of an aeroponic can be finely controlled. The limitation of hydroponics is that only certain species of plants can survive for so long in water before they become waterlogged. NASA research has shown that aeroponically grown plants have an 80% increase in dry weight biomass (essential minerals) compared to hydroponically grown plants. Aeroponics used 65% less water than hydroponics. NASA also concluded that aeroponically grown plants requires ¼ the nutrient input compared to hydroponics. Unlike hydroponically grown plants, aeroponically grown plants will not suffer transplant shock when transplanted to soil, and offers growers the ability to reduce the spread of disease and pathogens. Aeroponics is also widely used in laboratory studies of plant physiology and plant pathology. Aeroponic techniques have been given special attention from NASA since a mist is easier to handle than a liquid in a zero gravity environment

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