What Does Agriculture Consist of?
Crops | Farming

What Does Agriculture Consist of?

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Agriculture is a systematic process of producing substances for human consumption through the cultivation of plants and animals. Agriculture is an economic activity which, with the help of cultivated plants and domestic animals, uses natural resources (soil, water, climate) to obtain plant and animal products that are used in human and animal nutrition.

It is divided into plant production and animal husbandry.

Farming

Farming is an agricultural branch of plant production and a scientific discipline that deals with the study of cultivated plants and their cultivation. Cultivated crops that are the subject of farming are grown on arable land, meadows, and pastures.

As a scientific discipline, farming is divided into 2 basic branches: general and special farming. General farming deals with the arrangement of land for high and profitable production, the study of crop production, and tillage systems.

Special farming is a synthetic discipline and covers a wide range of problems. It studies the principles of geographical distribution and zoning of field crops, explores their botanical, biological, and ecological characteristics.

Growing fruit

Growing fruit, or pomiculture, is a branch of agriculture, which is focused on the production, cultivation, protection, and sale of fruit. The goal is to get quality fruit with low production costs. Fruit growers are engaged in fruit production, from planning and selection of planting material through fertilization and protection to fruit harvesting.

Agroecological conditions of fruit production are climate, soil, and location. Ground preparation and orchard raising include field selection, soil analysis, and fertilization, making an orchard plan, and procuring quality fruit seedlings.

In the orchard, it is necessary to cultivate the soil, protect the plants from the weather, irrigate, and pollinate. In fruit growing, agricultural machinery is used for tillage. When ripe or semi-ripe, the fruit is harvested, stored, sorted by class and quality, packaged, and transported to the location of sale.

Viticulture

Viticulture or wine growing is an agricultural branch engaged in the cultivation of European vines and the production of grapes. It also includes the cultivation of other vine species from the Vitis family.

The vine thrives in a moderate climate zone. They will thrive in locations where the average annual temperature is not lower than 8° C nor higher than 20° C. The average temperature during the growing season should be between 16 and 20° C, and the temperature during the dormant period of the vine should not fall below -15 ° C.

The vine has high heat requirements. The amount of heat is expressed by the sum of active temperatures during the growing season (from April to September). The vine requires 1,500 to 2,500 hours of sunlight. Due to the strongly developed root that can penetrate deep into the soil, the vine can be successfully grown in areas with relatively little rainfall. But in modern production, irrigation is necessary for drier areas.

The world’s largest producers of grapes and wine are France, Italy, Spain, the United States, and Argentina. The beginnings of grape growing date back to the ancient past, geographically somewhere between the Black and Caspian Seas, and according to some researchers to the Mediterranean area.

Vegetable growing

Vegetable growing is a branch of agriculture that deals with the cultivation of vegetable plants. It includes cultivation in open and protected areas. Protected areas include greenhouses and similar facilities that provide favorable microclimatic conditions for growing vegetables.

The most common vegetable plants are cabbage, potatoes, onions, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, and spinach. Vegetable production, thanks to the climate, is possible throughout the year. Historically speaking, plants that grew locally would be grown, but as time went on, the trading market also brought in exotic crops. Today, all vegetables are grown all over the world.

Traditionally, vegetables were planted in the ground in small rows or blocks, often primarily for consumption on personal farms, and the surplus was sold in nearby towns. Later, farms on the fringes of large communities could specialize in vegetable production. Some farms even specialize in growing and producing only one vegetable.

Due to the need to market vegetables while they are fresh, vegetable growing has a great need for work. Some farms avoid this by performing “you pick” operations in which customers choose their product. The development of technology has reduced the problems of bringing vegetables in bad condition to the market.

Cattle breeding

Cattle breeding, or livestock, is one of the primary activities that people have been engaged in for thousands of years. It involves the breeding of small and large livestock to produce food and various raw materials, such as leather and wool for further processing.

People began to cattle breed to feed themselves and their families. Cattle breeding is usually divided into general livestock and special livestock. General livestock deals with the breeding of the highest quality breeds of domestic animals. The purpose of special livestock is to study and breed individual species.

Livestock production began approximately 10,000 years ago with the domestication of sheep and goats. In total, about 30 species of animals have been domesticated, of which cattle, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and sheep are the most economically important.

Throughout history, the meaning of individual species has changed significantly. An example of these changes is horses, which were important in cultivating the land, transporting, and waging wars, but today they have significance only in human nutrition, sports, and recreation. That is why the number of horses has been constantly decreasing in the last 70 years.

Horse breeding is a branch of animal husbandry that focuses on horse breeding. The most favorable areas for horse breeding are pastures and meadows, as well as rural areas with plenty of clean air and space. After the development of motor traffic and mechanization, horse breeding lost its importance.

Beekeeping

There are two ways of beekeeping, migratory beekeeping, and stationary beekeeping. In migratory beekeeping, the beekeeper moves the hives near the pasture depending on the season. In stationery beekeeping, the hives are placed mainly in one place.

In addition to honey, important bee products are bee venom, royal jelly, beeswax, and propolis. The life of bees is related to various plant species because bees visit various honey plants when collecting food (nectar, pollen, honeydew). By collecting food in nature, they unknowingly pollinate plants in nature by transferring pollen grains from flower to flower.

Beekeeping, in addition to the production of honey and other bee products, affects the increased economic activity of the community, rural development, and the maintenance of ecological balance.

Poultry farming

Poultry farming is a branch of animal husbandry that breeds feathered animals to obtain meat, feathers, and eggs. The most famous domesticated birds used for breeding are chickens, ducks, and turkeys. 

Most of these animals were domesticated between 3000 and 1500 BC, but only in the last 100 years have they become a significant source of food, various materials for the textile, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, experimental animals, and pets.

Production, processing, and distribution of poultry products are organized and performed in two ways: industrial (intensive) and extensive. Up to 70 percent of the world’s poultry breeding industrially produces poultry, using the most modern technological and organizational procedures, in large agglomerations of poultry with large production capacities.

Extensive poultry farming is predominantly present in the middle and underdeveloped regions of the world. It describes raising and exploiting poultry on small capacity farms, without modern technology and feeding.

Poultry produces high-quality main foods such as eggs and meat, but there are also by-products such as manure and feathers. Poultry meat has a higher nutritional value than the meat of other domestic animals due to a higher proportion of essential amino acids and a lower proportion of connective tissue.

White chickens and turkeys are bred for white meat, ducks, and geese and bred for dark meat. Today, the production of hens is focused on the production of eggs for sale or breeding, and the production of broilers. Light hybrids of hens are used to produce unfertilized eggs and therefore only female offspring are raised.

Fishing

Fishing is a branch of agriculture that focuses on fishing, breeding, and processing of fish, both marine and freshwater. The inhabitants of the coastal areas, as well as those who live along large rivers and lakes, are most often engaged in fishing. Fish is of great importance in the diet because it contains a lot of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Fish are caught from the sea, rivers, lakes, and ponds.

Fishing includes several different activities, tools, and techniques used in catching marine fish, mollusks, crustaceans, and marine mammals for food and industrial purposes. Marine fishing has been mainly improved by new methods of discovering the natural settlements of marine organisms and by improving the tools and techniques for their catching.

Freshwater fishing is divided into economics, which is the core business of professional fishermen, and sport-recreational, whose purpose is personal satisfaction, not financial gain. Some remains of fishing accessories date back to the Old Stone Age. Available natural materials were used to make hooks and harpoons, for example, stone, wood, shells, bones, and horns.

World freshwater fishing, due to the high demand for fish and highly developed catch technology, has reached a limit above which it should no longer increase because overfishing of many species causes great damage. Due to the great diversity of freshwater fish species in the world, no group predominates in open water catches.

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