is the science or practice of farming-
also called farming or husbandry, is
the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi, and
other life forms for food, fiber, biofuel, drugs and
other products used to sustain and enhance
is the scientific knowledge used in
making, modification, usage, and knowledge of
tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, an
d methods of organization, in order to solve a
problem, improve a pre-existing solution to a
problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied
input/output relation or perform a specific
Agricultural practices such as irrigation, crop rotation, fertilizers,
pesticides and the domestication of livestock were developed a
long time ago, but have made great progress in the past century.
When farmers became capable of producing food beyond the
needs of their own families, others in their society were freed to
devote themselves to projects other than food acquisition.
Historians and anthropologists have long argued that the
development of agriculture made civilization possible.
Till the modern age the use of cattle and animals became
predominant and also the production of hand tools, horse shoes
and ploughs led to the development in agriculture.
A Sumerian harvester's sickle made
from baked clay (ca. 3000 BC).
Threshing of grain in ancient Egypt
Roman harvesting machine
mechanization self-propelled mechanical
harvesters, planters and other equipment
were developed, further revolutionizing
These inventions allowed farming tasks to
be done with a speed and on a scale
previously impossible, leading modern
farms to output much greater volumes of
high-quality produce per land unit.
The Haber–Bosch Process
In 1909 the Haber-Bosch method to synthesize ammonium
nitrate was first demonstrated, it represented a major
breakthrough and allowed crop yields to overcome previous
Nitrogen is a critical limiting mineral nutrient in plant growth.
Carbon and oxygen are also critical, but are easily obtained
by plants from soil and air. Even though air is 78%
nitrogen, atmospheric nitrogen is nutritionally unavailable
because nitrogen molecules are held together by strong triple
Nitrogen must be 'fixed', i.e. converted into some
bioavailable form, through natural or man-made
processes. It was not until the early 20th century that
Fritz Haber developed the first practical process to
convert atmospheric nitrogen to ammonia, which is
N2 + 3 H2 → 2 NH3 (ΔH = −92.4 kJ·mol−1)
generated from ammonia produced by the
Haber process is estimated to be responsible for
sustaining one-third of the Earth's population.
Green Revolution refers to a series of
research, development, and technology transfer
initiatives, occurring between the 1940s and the late
1960s, that increased agriculture production
worldwide, particularly in the developing world, beginning
most markedly in the late 1960s.
The initiatives, led by Norman Borlaug, the "Father of the
Green Revolution" credited with saving over a billion
people from starvation, involved the development of highyielding varieties of cereal grains, expansion of irrigation
infrastructure, modernization of management
techniques, distribution of hybridized seeds, synthetic
fertilizers, and pesticides to farmers.
In 1968 Norman was invited to India and with Punjab India
adopted the green revolution.
Mechanized agriculture is the process of using agricultural
machinery to mechanize the work of agriculture, greatly
increasing farm worker productivity.
In modern times powered machinery has replaced many
jobs formerly carried out by men or animals.
Commonly used agricultural machinery
The most common use of the term "tractor" is for the vehicles
used on farms. The farm tractor is used for pulling or pushing
agricultural machinery or trailers, for
plowing, tilling, disking, harrowing, planting, and similar tasks.
Specifically designed to deliver a high tractive effort (or
torque) at slow speeds, for the purposes of hauling a trailer or
machinery used in agriculture.
A cultivator is any of several types of farm implement used for
secondary tillage. One sense of the name refers to frames
with teeth (also called shanks) that pierce the soil as they are
dragged through it linearly. Another sense refers to machines
that use rotary motion of disks or teeth to accomplish a
Cultivators were originally drawn by draft animals (such as
horses, mules, or oxen) or were pushed or drawn by people.
Cultivators stir and pulverize the soil, either before planting (to
aerate the soil or after the crop has begun growing to kill
A seed drill is a sowing device that precisely positions
seeds in the soil and then covers them. Before the
introduction of the seed drill, the common practice was
to plant seeds by hand. Besides being wasteful, planting
was very imprecise and led to a poor distribution of
seeds, leading to low productivity. The use of a seed drill
can improve the ratio of crop yield by as much as nine
A potato planter is a farm implement for sowing seed potatoes.
A manual planter is sometimes called a bell planter, which may
have two farm hands sitting on the back whilst taking potatoes
from a hopper. The length between potatoes is tolled by a
bell, at the sound of which potatoes are thrown down tubes.
An automatic planter is hitched behind a farm tractor with a
three-point linkage and towed. Cups lift seed potatoes from a
hopper and drop them in tubes, planting up to eight drills at a
A rice trans planter is a specialized transplanter fitted to
transplant rice seedlings onto paddy field.
A broadcast seeder, alternately called a broadcast
spreader, is a farm implement commonly used for
spreading seed, lime, fertilizer, sand, ice melt, etc., and is
an alternative to drop spreaders/seeders.
Drip irrigation, also known as trickle irrigation or micro
irrigation or localized irrigation, is an irrigation method that
saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly
to the roots of plants, either onto the soil surface or
directly onto the root zone, through a network of
valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. It is done through
narrow tubes that deliver water directly to the base of the
A baler is a piece of farm machinery used to compress a cut
and raked crop (such as hay, cotton, straw, or silage) into
compact bales that are easy to handle, transport, and store.
Several different types of balers are commonly used, each
producing a different type of bales – rectangular or
cylindrical, of various sizes, bound with
twine, strapping, netting, or wire. Industrial balers are also used
in material recycling facilities, primarily for baling
metal, plastic, or paper for transport.
A trailer is generally an unpowered vehicle pulled by a
powered vehicle. Commonly, the term trailer refers to such
vehicles used for transport of goods and materials. The most
common is the stock trailer, a trailer that is enclosed on the
bottom, but has openings at approximately the eye level of the
animals to allow ventilation
Milking machines are used to harvest milk from cows when
manual milking becomes inefficient or labour intensive. Milking
machines work in a way that is different from hand milking or
calf suckling. Continuous vacuum is applied inside the soft liner
to massage milk from the teat by creating a pressure difference
across the teat canal (or opening at the end of the teat).
Vacuum also helps keep the machine attached to the cow.
In dairy farming a bulk milk cooling tank is a large storage tank
for cooling and holding milk at a cold temperature until it can
be picked up by a milk hauler. The bulk milk cooling tank is an
important piece of dairy farm equipment. It is usually made of
stainless steel and used every day to store the raw milk on the
farm in good condition. It must be cleaned after each milk
collection. The milk cooling tank can be the property of the
farmer or be rented from a dairy plant.
Genetically modified crops
To produce genetically modified food and materials with
To provide protection from environmental threats, such as
cold (in the case of Ice-minus bacteria), or pathogens, such
as insects or viruses, and/or resistance to herbicides. There
are also fungal and virus resistant crops developed or in
To modify the quality of the produce, for instance, increasing
the nutritional value or providing more industrially useful
qualities or quantities of the produce.
The Amflora potato, for example, produces a more
industrially useful blend of starches. Cows have been
engineered to produce more protein in their milk to facilitate
Another goal in generating GMOs is to directly improve yield by
accelerating growth, or making the organism hardier (for plants, by
improving salt, cold or drought tolerance). Some agriculturally
important animals have been genetically modified with growth
hormones to increase their size.
. These modified crops would also reduce the usage of
chemicals, such as fertilizers and pesticides, and therefore decrease
the severity and frequency of the damages produced by this
Ethical and safety concerns have been raised around the use of
genetically modified food. A major safety concern relates to the
human health implications of eating genetically modified food, in
particular whether toxic or allergic reactions could occur.
A long-term study (2002 through 2008) on the economic impacts of Bt
cotton in India, showed that Bt cotton increased yields, profits, and
living standards of smallholder farmers. However, recently cotton
bollworm has been developing resistance to Bt cotton and the
Indian Agriculture Ministry linked farmers' suicides in India to the
declining performance of Bt cotton for the first time. Consequently, in
2012 the state of Maharashtra banned Bt cotton and ordered a
socio-economic study of it’s use.
These fuels are produced from living organisms. These fuels
are made by a biomass conversion (biomass refers to
recently living organisms, most often referring to plants or
plant-derived materials). This biomass conversion can result in
fuel in solid, liquid, or gas form.
Bioethanol is an alcohol made by fermentation, mostly from
carbohydrates produced in sugar or starch crops such as
corn or sugarcane. Cellulosic biomass, derived from nonfood sources, such as trees and grasses, is also being
developed as a feedstock for ethanol production.
Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils and animal fats.
Biodiesel can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure
form, but it is usually used as a diesel additive to reduce
levels of particulates, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons
from diesel-powered vehicles.
In 2010, worldwide biofuel production reached
105 billion liters and biofuels provided 2.7% of the
world's fuels for road transport, a contribution
largely made up of ethanol and biodiesel. The
International Energy Agency has a goal for biofuels
to meet more than a quarter of world demand for
transportation fuels by 2050 to reduce
dependence on petroleum and coal.
GPS USE IN AGRICULTURE
Tractor Guidance: Farmers can put their tractors on auto-pilot. If
they plough their fields with a recording GPS system the tractor can
then be programmed to follow the same route - for
cultivating, fertilizing, pest control and harvesting. The programming
of tractor routes has the potential to save a lot of money.
Crop-duster: Targeting: Insects don't attack a field with a uniform
distribution. Instead outbreaks of insect activity are concentrated in
certain areas. Workers strolling the crops can use a GPS to record
the locations of insect problems. The data can then be used by
crop-duster pilots to selectively target the problem areas instead of
treating an entire field. This method results in a savings of
time, fuel, and insecticide and crop exposure to chemicals.
Tracking Livestock: The location of valuable animals on a
large farm can be monitored by GPS transmitters attached
to the animals collar. When the animals are sent to market
GPS transmitters can also be used to track their location.
Yield Monitoring: Estimates of yield variations across a
property can be made using GPS. To do this the property is
divided into zones and the yield of each zone is estimated
and plotted on a map. The map can then be used to better
understand the property and for decision-making in regard
to the next planting.
Soil Sampling: Collecting soil samples across a large property
can be organized using GPS and mapping software. The
sample locations can be way pointed in the field and those
waypoints marked on the mapping software. Then, when the
laboratory results are returned the data can be plotted on
the maps and decisions for soil treatment can be made for
various parts of the property. The locational information can
save money and time by allowing variable rate applications
and treating only those areas with a documented need.
IMPEDIMENTS IN MODERNIZING AGRICULTURE
Increase in Unemployment
In the poor countries the rate of unemployment is already high.
So the use of machinery in agriculture has increased the rate of
unemployment in the country. It is useful in those countries
where labour is not available or labour is costly.
Not Suitable for Small Holding
The use of machinery is not profitable for small holdings. The
majority of the farmers in underdeveloped countries is the
owner of small holdings. For instance, owner of a 5 acre land
cannot purchase tractor.
In the poor countries farmer is unable to purchase the
expensive machinery due to poverty. While labor is cheap in
the poor country. Costly machinery increases the cost of
Lack of Technical Knowledge
In the underdeveloped countries majority of farmers are
uneducated and they cannot handle the machines. So misuse
of machinery causes a great loss to the farmer.
Lack of Foreign Exchange
Foreign exchange is required to make payments for imported
machinery. There is a shortage of foreign exchange in poor
countries. So it becomes difficult to import the machinery.
In most of developing countries maintenance and repairing
facilities are not available in the rural areas. The break down of
the machinery will cause delay in agricultural operation.
Lack of Energy Resources
Oil, Gas, and Electricity are the main source of energy. These
are essential for the farm mechanization but there is shortage
of these resources in the most of underdeveloped countries.
Prices of oil are increasing day by day.
DETRIMENTAL EFECTS OF PESTICIDES/INSECTICIDES
Despite their beneficial effects, pesticide use has come
under critical evaluation in the last 50 years. In 1960, the
World Health Organization initiated the WHO Pesticide
Evaluation Scheme (WHOPES) to increase awareness of the
dangers of pesticides and to encourage their proper use.
The World Health Organization estimates that 1 to 5 million
cases of pesticide poisoning occur every year. Pesticide
exposure affects the immune system, and scientists speculate
that impaired immune system function, commonly seen in
underdeveloped countries, could be linked to pesticide use.
Additionally, 10 percent of pesticides are linked to cancer.
Pesticides also affect the environment. They can damage
ecosystems which may result in the extermination of species
that are not necessarily intended to be their targets. Pets and
native beneficial species may also be harmed by the strong
chemicals in many pesticides
pollution due to pesticides is a
worldwide problem. According to reports at least
143 different pesticides and 21 transformation
products have been found in ground
water, including pesticides from every major
During one survey in India, 58% of drinking water
samples drawn from various hand pumps and wells
around Bhopal were contaminated with Organo