Improvement in Food Resources

Improvement in Crop Yields

India is blessed with many seasons and that hosts a variety of crops in this country. This is because different crops need different temperatures and climatic conditions to complete their life cycle. The quality of crops is also dependent on what we call the photoperiod.

This is related to the duration of sunlight. This is another major factor upon which the types of crops are dependent. However, before we get into the depths of how we can improve the crop yields, let us discuss, what crops are majorly grown in India!

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What Are The Common Crops in India?

Amongst various cereals, wheat, maize, millets and rice are the commonest ones. They provide us with our daily dose of carbohydrates that is required for having energy in the body.

We are also a leading producer of various pulses like black and green gram, pigeon pea and lentils that supplement our body with the necessary proteins. From the “fatty crops”, the usual ones are soybean, sesame, mustard, and linseed etc.

crops

Apart from these major varieties, we also grow other fodder crops to sustain our livestock. Recent statistics suggest that there has been an improvement in the crop production in India over the last five years. It has been achieved by various techniques of crop improvement. First, let us see what the objectives of crop improvement are!

Objectives of Crop Yield Improvement

The objective of crop yield improvement depends on the crop type. The crop yield improvement is basically done for the following factors:

  • Higher yield: You can achieve a higher yield of crops by developing HYV (high yielding variety) crops. This can be done by the process of hybridization and cross-breeding.
  • Better quality: There are different reasons for improving the quality of different crops, such as improvement of the baking quality in cereals like wheat. On the other hand, pulses need to have better protein quality.
  • Biotic and Abiotic Resistance: We should develop crops that are resistant to biotic stresses like insects and diseases and abiotic stresses like heat, salinity, and cold. This can significantly improve the crop production in the country.
  • Various Desirable Agronomic Traits: Higher production can be achieved by developing such varieties of crops that contain the desirable agronomic traits to sustain the various threats during the production process.
  • Better and Wider Adaptability of The Crops: By developing crops with better adaptability to changing climatic and nutritional conditions, we can stabilize the crop production, thus, leading to higher yields in crop each year.
  • Easier to Adapt to Changing Climatic Conditions: We must concentrate on producing the varieties that are easier to adapt to the new and changing climatic conditions easily. This is one great way to improve the crop yield.

How to Improve the Crop Yields?

There are three basic approaches that are adopted in our country to increase the yield from agricultural fields. They are:

  • Crop variety improvement
  • Crop production management
  • Nutrient management

Crop variety improvement

By this technique, what we mean is the combination of desirable characteristics from many crops into a single hybrid crop. The next step would be multiplying it. This method calls for the plant breeders to select the desirable characteristics and cross them so that the offspring has the best of both worlds! Isn’t it simply marvellous?

Why is There a Need for Higher Crop Yield?

  • With rising population and livestock, the demand for food and fodder has been increasing like never before.
  • Along with that, there is a rise in the standard of living and people have become more conscious about their health. This has led to an increase in the demand for good quality products.
  • It becomes necessary to increase the crop variety to produce disease-resistance offsprings of the crops.
  • It also helps in providing better and superior varieties based on the quality and quantity of the yield.

Crop Production Management

India is basically an agriculture-based country. Around 3/4th of the population in the country is dependent on agriculture for a living. Based on the size of the farms, different farmers have different amounts of money, information, and technology to develop the crops.

The more the inputs, the higher is the yield. Accordingly, there are three types of crop production management. These include ‘no cost’, ‘low cost’ and ‘high cost’ production practices.

Nutrient Management

This is an important part of improving the crop yield as plants do need inorganic elements for their growth. Many macro and micronutrients are important for the plants to build their structure and maintain their metabolism. There are sixteen types of nutrients that are required by the plants, which are subdivided into two categories:

  • Macronutrients: These are the essential elements that are required in relatively in large quantities by the plants. Examples include carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen.
  • Micronutrients: These are necessary for the plants in small quantities. Examples include magnesium, iron, boron, zinc etc.

Question For You

Q. Which of the following terms is used for raising both plant crop and livestock on the farm?

a. Mixed farming                         b. Intercropping

c. Monocropping                         d. Crop rotation

Ans: a. Mixed farming. Mixed farming is a method of agriculture which involves cropping as well as raising livestock. For example growing of cereal crops with cattle farming as cattle excrete nitrogenous waste that can be used as manure for cereals whereas waste from crops is used as fodder and reduces the use of artificial fertilizers.

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