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We are all familiar with commonly used words such as Horticulture and Agriculture. However, most of us don’t actually know that these words are not entirely the same, and each has its own distinctive qualities. You may be planning to enter the agricultural industry or you simply want to educate yourself about crop production. In any case, you may have been wondering what is the difference between horticulture and agriculture.
Horticulture mainly focuses on the management, science, and development of cultivated food crops and other plants. On the other hand, agriculture is the science of cultivation of crops and raising livestock for farming. It is large-scale and is mostly done on wide-ranging pieces of farmland.
Although one could argue that they are both generally the same thing, there are still a few things that vary from one to the other. As you read on, you will know more about horticulture and agriculture and the individual characteristics of each. We will dive more into the differences between these two, so let’s start!
What is Horticulture
Initially, horticulture is a subdivision of agriculture. It is the cultivation of food crops and plants that is particularly done with special techniques and methods such as the use of modern-day technologies, biochemistry, genetic engineering, and scientific research. Horticultural crops are diverse and can range from food for human consumption to ornamental plants for beauty and decoration. In the present day, horticulture can be defined as the production and processing of various crops that include flowers, spices, vegetables, fruits, landscape, and indoor plants.
Characteristics of Horticulture
In this section, we are going to dig into some of the distinct features of horticulture.
Use of Modern Technologies
As mentioned before, specific technologies and methods are widely used in horticulture in order to improve crop yield.
High Input and High Value
Since horticulture is involved with scientific research, it is more likely to provide a higher quality of crops.
It is crucial for horticulturalists to undergo certain training before they can work on the field. Hence, horticulture requires intensive management especially when handling and maintaining the quality of the crops.
High capital investment is essential to building and maintaining greenhouses, equipment, as well as other needed facilities and resources.
Horticulture does not only focuses on food crops but also provides decorative plants.
What is Agriculture
On the other side, agriculture is the science of cultivating the soil, production of crops, and raising different kinds of animals for farming. It consists of the overall preparation of crops and other animal products to be delivered and distributed to the markets. Agriculture also involves the use of chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, and other natural substances These help in nutrients absorption, plant growth, and protection from invasive weeds and insects. Agriculture provides not only food products but also other raw materials such as cotton, wool, wood, and leather.
Characteristics of Agriculture
Agriculture uses cultivation strategies such as seedling, transplanting, tilling, and more. Here are some of the characteristics of agriculture:
Traditional Methods of Production
Agricultural methods of production include the use of different types of machinery, tools, and irrigation systems. Traditional ways are also much more labor-intensive.
Use of Chemical Substances
In the modern-day, different types of fertilizers and pesticides are widely used by the farmers to improve the quality of their crops. These substances enhance the growth of the plants as well as provide protection from harmful pests and insects.
The production cost of the crops may vary due to the changes in the price tags of transportation, labor, energy, and raw materials.
Seasonal Variability of Production
Most of the agricultural products are harvested seasonally and a few factors may also affect its variabilities such as environmental stresses that can influence the flow of supply and demand.
What are the Differences Between Horticulture and Agriculture
One of the most important distinctions of horticulture from agriculture is that horticulture deals with gardening on a small scale and typically in enclosed gardens. Additionally, strategies are developed for better quality crop yields, increased in nutritional value, resistance to various pests and diseases, and capability to adapt to natural stresses. Thus, horticulturalists carry out extensive research in their field.
Horticulture contributes to the quality of life by sustaining and providing quality food and enhancing the beauty of the communities. There is also a wide range of areas and scopes under horticulture such as arboriculture, turf management, floriculture, landscape horticulture, Olericulture, Pomology, Viticulture, Oenology, and Postharvest physiology. Each of them covers a specific domain which includes the overall production, processing, development, marketing, as well as the maintenance of the plants. Moreover, plant propagation and breeding of plants are also part of the scopes of horticulture.
Meanwhile, agriculture mainly focuses on the cultivation of food crops, livestock, and other raw materials. It is commonly done on a large scale and on a wider range of fields. Agricultural machines and irrigation systems are also widely involved in the production and processing of the crops. More so, farmers usually use fertilizers and pesticides to improve the quality of the crop yield.
Agriculture also has major scopes within which includes agronomy, plant breeding including biotechnology, entomology, plant pathology, as well as plant and soil chemistry. It is not only comprised of cultivation of crops but also animal farming such as bee-keeping, fish farming, poultry, and so on.
There are also different ways in agricultural farming which depend on the climate, terrain, availability of technology, and other traditions. Low-technology farming involves permanent crops that are grown and harvested but are not replanted after, while high-technology farming involves crop rotation.
Some people can be mistaken by thinking that horticulture and agriculture are the same. Truthfully, both of them definitely relate to each other in one way or another but their diverse characteristics and the methods that are used make them totally different from each other. It needs a careful and broad understanding of someone to be able to fully grasp their differences.