Agricultural science is a broad multidisciplinary field. It encompasses the parts of exact, natural, economic and social sciences that are used in the practice and understanding of agriculture.
Modern farming technology is used to improve the production practices employed by farmers, and it makes use of hybrid seeds of selected variety, technologically advanced equipment and lots of energy subsidies in the form of irrigation water, and chemicals (fertilizers and pesticides).
Sustainability in agriculture ensures that you meet the food needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. It encompasses farming methods that are environmentally friendly, economically viable and safeguard public health.
It also brings into consideration the working and living conditions of farmers (laborers), enhancement of the land upon which farming depends, the living and working conditions of farmers, and the ability to make the most efficient use of farm resources.
Different Farming Methods
Several farming methods are practiced all over the world. All farming methods are dependent on land size, soil type, and other factors, and some of these methods include:
- Subsistence Farming: Characterized by poor farmers having small and scattered land areas, whose work is done manually following traditional processes, and who hardly use Fertilizer, High-yield seed varieties etc. They grow foods for local consumption.
- Plantation Agriculture: Introduced by the British, and involves planting a single crop variety over huge expanses of land. It requires lots of capital to run, and it is dependent on agricultural experts and sophisticated farm machinery and inputs (Fertilizers, Good transport and storage facilities, etc…)
- Crop Rotation: this is a practice where crops are grown one variety at a time on a land area, usually done to maintain land fertility. E.g, Cereals is often rotated with legumes to help in nitrogen fixation.
- Bio-dynamic Agriculture: this method considers farms as organisms, and fertility is maintained through planting cover crops or farm animal manure. For a farm to be seen as bio-dynamic, it must first be organically licensed.
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM): this farming method is based on strategies for pest management and relies on pest observation, and pest prevention. IPM makes use of biological controls to get rid of pests, e.g, ladybugs are used to devour aphids in farms.
- No-Till Agriculture: from its name, you will realize that farmers never have to break the soil, and seeds are simply planted on soils.
- Other farming methods that we are not going to discuss in this article include Organic farming, multi-crop farming, Greenhouse farming, Vertical farming, and Playhouse farming.
Modern Scientific Farming Practices
These practices include:
- Crop rotation
- Crop diversity
- Drip irrigation
- Soil sampling and monitoring
- Native pollinator habitats
- Brush mulching
- Mulches for weed control
- Insect trapping and monitoring
- Insect-mating disruption
- Protective practices for predatory insects
- Computer-aided disease and insect demonstration
- Established turf to reduce soil erosion
- Cover crops to improve soil nutrition
- Plant variety growing trials