Professional training and personal experience may
also be utilised to boost up the yield per unit area
By M. Mithal Jiskani,
Assistant Professor (Plant Pathology)
Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam
Jan-07- 13, 2002
Agriculture comprises both the art and science,
related with almost all the disciplines of life and environmental
sciences, with special reference to cultivate the land so as to
produce economic crops with scientific methods. No doubt, generation
to generation involvement with agricultural profession may help to
increase crop production, but professional training and personal
experience may also be utilised to boost up the yield per unit area.
Besides agronomic techniques for achieving optimum
crop production. pre-planning is one of the most important components
of basic principles for getting high yields per unit area.
Climate: Climate (including temperature,
humidity, precipitation or rainfall, sunshine, cloudiness and wind) is
the most important factor for increasing or decreasing production of
crops, because the crop plants may become weak, diseased or so on, due
to unfavourable climatic conditions. Therefore, the crop should be
sown according to the climatic conditions of an area, as it may be
suitable for different crops.
Soil: The soil is not uniform even in a small
area, but it exists in various types. While, the plants depend upon
soil type and conditions such as water and other essential nutritional
elements, and it contributes significantly to the plant growth. Hence,
cultivating the suitable crop in available soil type can increase
Land erosion: The weathering away of the soil
surface by running water, wind and other geological agents is termed
as land erosion. Cultivating crop after crop, in accordance to
suitable crop rotation could control this detachment and
transformation of fertile upper surface of soil.
Clean crop area: The cropping area should be
free from all unwanted weed plants and trees, but it must be kept in
mind that trees are very essential for protection of environmental
pollution and constant climatic conditions favourable for crops.
Crop selection: Cultivating crop should be
selected according to the soil type and climatic conditions of an area
or as per requirement of the grower and/or as necessary according to
the location e.g.: vegetable crop should be selected in the
surrounding of cities/towns. Availability of agricultural inputs and
other resources must be kept in mind also.
Variety selection: Only those varieties should
be selected, which are high yielding, resistant to diseases, insect
pests and could be successfully grown in selected soil type, under
available climatic conditions of an area.
Target area under crop: The target should be to
produce the maximum number of crops per year, of high yield, from only
that amount of land, for which all inputs could be arranged easily. It
is true that sustainable agriculture is better than intensive and
intensive is good than extensive farming.
Healthy and pure seed: Availability of healthy
and pure seed should be confirmed, because only such type of seed
could be helpful for obtaining optimum crop production, otherwise seed
treatment may be done against seed borne diseases.
Water availability: Irrigation water is one of
the pre basic requirements for all livings including crop plants.
Judicious use of irrigation water may help to increase the cropping
area and yield as well.
Availability of fertilizers: Farm yard manure
as well as green manuring could improve poor soils, but chemical
fertilisers may also become helpful. Therefore, arrangements should be
confirmed before cropping.
Arrangement of agrochemical: Frost of the crop
enemies e.g. insect pests, diseases, weeds etc could be timely
controlled by proper use of agrochemical (pesticides), therefore
surely be arranged before cropping or at the time of sowing.
AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENTS AND MACHINERY:
Different agricultural implements and machinery is required for
different agronomic practices, but all are not available to all
growers, hence it should be confirmed that the same could be arranged
when and where are required.
Improvement of soil fertility: The soil
fertility deteriorates day by day due to continuous cropping, old and
defective methods of cultivation. The growers are not commonly
practising cropping pattern by mean of good crop rotation, green
manuring, use of farm yard manure, deep plowing etc. which is of prime
importance for maintaining fertility and organic matter in the soil.
The need is that growers must accept and adopt proper technology as
per recommendations of researchers.
Arrangement of cash: Sudden need of any
agricultural input or labour could only be arranged in case of cash
payment, hence it should be in hand at any day, any time, during whole
Land preparation and cultivation
Land preparation and cultivation methodology is
also among the basic factors, which may affect the yield. For getting
better yield, it is important to prepare land thoroughly, so that the
weeds are destroyed and water absorption capacity of the soil is
Proper land preparation: The land preparation
varies from place to place, depending upon the climatic conditions,
methods of sowing, soil characteristics and supply of water, but
following few factors should be kept in mind:
Tillage: Tillage is the mechanical manipulation
of soil to provide better soil conditions suited to the growth of the
crops, the control of weeds, maintenance of infiltration capacity and
aeration. For that, crop wise recommendations are decided, which must
Land levelling: Land should be levelled
thoroughly so as to ensure an equal distribution seed, fertilisers and
irrigation water to all crop plants, which may result as the best crop
with good yield. Proper levelling may also help in reduction of salt
Plots and channels: The land should be divided
in to the small plots. The feeding channels are made in such a way
that each plot gets water separately. Irrigation from one plot to
another will distribute the disease organisms and weeds.
Time of sowing: Proper time of sowing is also
one of the important factors that affect the yield and it may vary
with crop varieties and climatic conditions. Good yield could be
obtained by cultivating the crop, during favourable soil and climatic
conditions. Optimum sowing time encourage high seed germination,
strong plants and vigorous root system in all crop plants.
Method of sowing: Different sowing methods
proved to be the best for different crops, based on type of crop, its
time of sowing, soil type as well as land situation and water supply.
Normally, sowing in lines is better but unfortunately in case of crop
requirements or late sowing and heavy soils, broadcasting gives better
yield. Direct seeding in wet or dry soil condition and transplanting
may also helpful for some crops. Ghurbi/kur (seeding in standing
water) is also proved best for the cultivation of wheat in saline
Seed rate: Uniform population of crop plants is
very important for obtaining optimum yield, which could be achieved by
using proper seed rate. Seed rate depends upon the seed purity, sowing
time, and soil type and/or crop variety.
Distance for sowing: The distance between two
plants and two rows should also be managed, which also depends on the
climate of area, crop variety, type and condition of soil.
Depth for sowing: It also varies with crop
varieties as well as soil type and condition.
Regular look after of the crop is also one of the
solutions for obtaining optimum crop production. Following are basic
Thinning: In order to provide favourable
moisture, nutrition, sunlight and space to crop, through obtaining
proper plant population as per crop variety recommendations, thinning
must be done.
Earthing up: It is also very important factor
for different crops, which not only make the soil porous and check the
weeds but also at the same time, protect the crop from lodging.
Irrigation: Moisture plays a very important
role in the growth of the crops. Some crops require less while other
needs higher amount of water. It is also true that there are certain
critical growth stages of each crop. If water will not applied on such
stages, the yield would decrease considerably. Therefore proper supply
of irrigation water must be assured as per requirement of the crop,
according to soil type and climatic conditions.
Fertilizers: Chemical fertiliser application is
also compulsory, but it is difficult to suggest that what type and
amount of fertiliser should be applied and at what time and method.
Because it depends upon the soil conditions of the area, crop
rotation, varieties used and availability of water. In view of the
above facts, the recommendations of the soil scientists after soil
test will be fruitful. Therefore, the growers are suggested to test
their soils at first then they may apply suitable fertiliser, with
proper method, recommended dose and time.
Weeds: Weeds are those plants, which grow
unwanted, non-useful, often prolific and persistent, interfere with
agricultural operations, increase labour cost and reduce the crop
yields. Various mechanical (non-chemical) and chemical methods could
control the weeds. Hand pulling of weeds, plowing into the affected
soils, interculturing, hoeing, crop rotation etc can be as effective
as chemical control. However, integrated weed management is safe,
economic and most easy too.
Pests, diseases and other enemies: Insect
pests, diseases, bird, animal etc annually destroys about 35 per cent
of all crops world-wide. Even after food (crop) is harvested, these
enemies inflict a further 10-20 per cent loss, bringing the total
destruction to about 40 or 50 per cent. Integrated pest and/or disease
management is a system which brings together control by regular
cultivation with proper crop rotation, selecting resistant varieties,
and the list of practices include is large. In this system pesticide
applications may be delayed till pest attain economic injury level.
However, all pesticides are poisons and are harmful
equally to all livings, therefore care must be taken during their
Harmful weather conditions: Low or high
temperature effects, light effects, soil moisture disturbance, oxygen
relations, lightning injuries, nutritional disorders and effects of
atmospheric impurities may also damage the crops, therefore growers
must be fully aware to all those negative conditions and adopt
necessary measures as per achieved by researchers.
Harvesting and threshing
Harvesting is the time, when ripe or mature crops
are cut (e.g. cereals), lifted (e.g. root crops) or picked (e.g.
fruit, hops). The delay in harvesting may result in yield losses due
to shattering, lodging, rats, birds, insect pests, pathogens etc. the
quality of the produce may also spoiled. Therefore, care must be taken
against all pre harvest, harvest and post harvest practices.
Storage and marketing of produce
Storage is also one of the problems faced by
growers and other concerned parties. Stored grain pest problem could
be quoted as an example. Various market problems are also identified,
those all need special attention.
In light of the above facts, let us check ourselves
and confirm that we are fully aware or not, to basic principles for
obtaining optimum crop production? Now it is upon the growers that
what and how they would like to do?