Agriculture Corner

Classification of Crop Plants in Agriculture: Agronomic Classification


There are hundreds of crops grown in agriculture sector. These crops are grouped together or more precisely classified into various categories based on agronomic classification, seasonal classification special purpose classification etc.

The purpose of these classifications is to learn about the agriculture crops more deeply and accurately to judge their characteristics so that best agronomic practices can be applied to get maximum production and yield.

In this article, you will find the classification of crop plants in agriculture based on agronomic classification. In agronomic classification, crops are divided into 10 categories. A brief about each category is given below along with the suitable examples.

1 Cereal or Grain Crops

Cereal Crops or grain crops belong to the grass family. These are cultivated and utilized for their edible starch rich seeds. These are regarded as the base crops to make people food secure around the globe. The widely known cereal crop is the Wheat. It is the largest crop utilized globally. It is used in the form of its flour.

Other important cereal crops include Oats, Barley, Corn, Rye, Sorghum and Rice. This group provides the most important staple crops to the 7 billion people of the globe.

2 Legume Crops

Legume crops constitute the most important agronomic crops, known for fixing atmospheric nitrogen into the soil for further agriculture activities. Legumes have bacteria on their roots that fix nitrogen gas into usable form. Legumes are the most important source of protein in agriculture world. Important crops included in legumes are Peas, Groundnut, Lentils, Broad Beans, Chick Peas, Alfalfa, Clover etc.

3 Forage Crops

Like cereals have importance for humans, forage crops are the source of food for animals, livestock and wildlife. In other words, forage crops are the lifeline for animals on earth. Forage crops are utilized as feed for livestock in various ways like drying them to make hay or ferment them to prepare silage or even mechanized processing of forage crops results in making of pellets or cubes that are fit for animal consumption. Important forage crops include grasses, crucifers and legumes.

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Agriculture Corner

Water Conservation Techniques in Arid or Dryland Agriculture Systems


Water is a jewel for arid agriculture farmers. Rainfall being the chief source of water for cropping purposes in these areas is precious. Arid areas are characterized by very low rainfall (less than 100mm as defined by FAO) high temperature and barren land. Even after the rainfall, the rate of evaporation and evapo-transpiration from water body structures and plants is high that available water loses at a fast pace.

How Arid or Dryland are Formed?

Arid or Dryland are formed naturally. This happens when topographic, climatic and oceanographic elements create hindrances in the way of moisture-bearing weather systems to reach that zone.

Special Treatment for Arid Lands

To sustain agricultural activities and generate food and livelihoods of the farmers of arid zones, special measures are taken in each cropping activity right from sowing to harvesting and post-harvesting. However, water has central importance in this scenario and conservation of available water (through any mode of precipitation) requires special structures and techniques.

This article will highlight 5 best suited and easy to install methods of water conservation in Arid or Dryland agriculture systems.

1. Micro or Drip Irrigation

This is the most effective and efficient way of water conservation technique suitable for arid lands. Not only this method helps in water conservation, but it also help in soil conservation. In this method, water is delivered to plants from soil surface using a system of tubes that bear small holes and other destructive outlets. This method also allows the application of fertilizer by mixing it with irrigation water through Drip irrigation. It has been estimated that drip irrigation saves 50-70 percent water as compare to traditional methods of irrigation and also it supplements more crop production by 20-90 percent due to direct availability of fertilizer to plants.

Drip Irrigation in Arid Agriculture
Drip Irrigation in Arid Agriculture

2. Zai Pits

Another efficient method of water conservation in arid agriculture systems is Zai Pits. These planting pits are made around the plants and trees to conserve water and moisture. The pits are prepared with hands. The excavated soil generated during digging is used to make small ridges around the pits. This helps in capturing maximum rain water. Usually these are 10 inches deep and wide and 3 feet apart (25cm x 25cm holes one meter apart). The objective is to trap rain water to increase moisture around the plant. It also aids in increasing soil fertility especially in dryland or arid regions where occurrence of crusty and degraded soil is common. These pits are then planted with a mixture of crop residues, compost, animal manure and seeds. These are then covered with mulch made of leaves or grass to conserve moisture. This simple looking technique can increase the agriculture produce by 50 percent within three years of practice.

Zai Pits
Zai Pits

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Agriculture Corner

United States Land Grant Model: Lessons for Developing Countries


With the implementation of Morrill Land-Grants Act in 1862 during the presidential tenure of Abraham Lincoln, United States Land Grant Colleges and Universities of Agriculture were start establishing in the states, territories and bound of Unites States of America. It won’t be wrong to claim that, Unites States Land Grant Model opened a new horizon of research and development in agriculture sector of USA. On top of it, this model is intertwined with the opening of gates to a mediocre American to have an access to technical and higher education. 

Before moving ahead, let’s have a brief on what is Land Grant System? We know that government grant is anything having a value and is given by the Federal or central government to a non-federal unit with the objective to carry out activities of public interest as authorized by the government law.

In case of United States Land Grant system, it is the award of government owned land to a receiver with the condition that the land will be used for public purpose under the legislation of US. Public colleges and universities are the most prominent outcomes of land grant system.

The law bounded the awardees of government land to either built a college or university (for agriculture and mechanic arts) or sold the land, and use the money to build at least one college for agriculture or mechanic arts. As the time passed, the dynamics of higher education and agriculture sector changed in USA and this also impacted on the land grant colleges that responded to this change by upgrading to universities.

Today, this 150 years old model is supporting USA economy by providing state of the art and world class research output, educational facilities, innovative public outreach programs and extension schemes that have strengthen the rural communities. As a result, community members have become the drivers of change by producing superior quality food, fiber along with renewable fuel systems to face the new challenges at national and global stages.

These colleges and universities under land grand model are now primary source of policy input to US government in research, education and extension services, thus creating an enabling environment to face 21st century challenges.

Can Third World Countries Agricultural System Withstand Challenges of 21st Century?

The most common missing link in any sector of economy in a third world nation is the element of ‘Planning’. Planning is at the core of achieving any goal. However, this habit has to be changed if governments in third world want their citizens to have access to safe and nutritious food along with sustainable livelihoods.

Another limiting factor that hinders the process of planning in third world nations is the access to capital and technology. For planning, research is needed to answer the unanswered queries. And for research funds are required. With weaker economies, it is difficult for third world nations to make a cut on other expenses and divert the funds towards research and ultimately planning. The viable option left is to learn from the successful stories and models round the globe.

Almost all the third world countries on the globe have agricultural based economies. Without innovation and technological advancement, it is hard to withstand 21st century challenges. Some notable challenges to agriculture sector in the 21st century include;  

  1. Climate change
  2. Population explosion
  3. Food insecurity
  4. Water scarcity for irrigation purpose
  5. Introduction of new diseases and pest on agricultural fields
  6. Orthodox extension methodologies
  7. Lack of research for new crop varieties.

Unites States Land Grants Model is Best Suited to Third World Countries

As mentioned earlier, that poor agriculture based nations have viable option of learning from global successful models. Land grant model is suited to the economic conditions of these countries in many ways;

  1. Government has to spend nothing on its part. They can award the government owned lands to follow a grass root level approach for agricultural development.
  2. USA land grant universities are also supporting third world countries that are ready to adopt land grant model by proving technical assistance, scientific trainings and hands on instruction.
  3. Land grand model can aid in uplifting the higher education and literacy rate in the country.
  4. Government can provide seed money to the trained graduates from land grant education system so that they can become entrepreneurs to generate further employment opportunities.
  5. Eventually, not only livelihoods of the people will increase but economy will also witness boom.

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, September 19). United States Land Grant College of Agriculture: Lessons for Developing Countries [Blog Post]. Retrieved from [/box]


Vegetable Gardening

How to Grow Lettuce Leaves in a Container?


Today, I am going to share my experience of how to grow lettuce in a container placed anywhere in your kitchen or vegetable garden. Lettuce is a kind of vegetable that can be grown all-round the year in any climatic conditions. On top of it, its nutritious value is high and is best suited food ingredient for people who are on a diet. Low in saturated fats and sodium, lettuce is rich in;

  • Thiamin
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B6
  • Potassium

In addition to this, it is a good supplier of;

  • Dietary Fiber
  • Folate
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K

Vegetable Gardening for Beginners: a Complete Guide

Lettuce in Urban Gardening Containers

Urban gardening is gaining popularity these days as it can add a joyous activity in your daily busy and hectic life. On the other hand, it also adds fresh and juicy vegetables for your meals and a healthy life style.


Salads are a vital part of our food, offering lots of valuable vitamins with least calories, thus ideal food for diet conscious people. For this purpose, lettuce are easy to grow in container of your vegetable garden that will return you with multiple harvests. Growing lettuce in kitchen garden can be an amazing experience for the beginners.

Below lines will guide you with the steps of how to grow lettuce in a container of your kitchen garden.

What do you Need?

Lettuce plant allows you multiple harvests, i.e. as you collect the leaves, new ones grow in place of older. For this reason, it is very important to have;

  • Proper quality potting soil
  • Good quality seeds.
  • Right size container

Recommended Container & Potting Soil for Growing Lettuce

Soil: First step in how to grow lettuce is the selection of proper soil. Good quality potting soil is available in the near nursery store while many online stores also offer potting soils for lettuce. Just be sure that potting soil for lettuce should have a mix of soil, peat or compost and vermiculite or perlite. This soil mix allows good water retention that is best suited for lettuce in containers.

Seeds: There are various varieties available for growing lettuce in a container. In fact when you search for a variety of lettuce, you will be amazed that there are endless varieties of lettuce available. My recommendation is to select the variety you like the most. This is because, different varieties taste differently. Among many, you can chose;

  • Crisphead
  • Butterhead
  • Lose leaf
  • Summer Crisp
  • Little Gem
Lettuce Varieties for Container Farming

What I have grown in container of my vegetable garden is Little Gem variety. This variety was originated in France. You will find this variety crunchy, sweet in taste with miniature heads of lettuce that are full of nooks and crannies.  Little Gem variety of lettuce is best for salad dressing and can be cooked for food.

Container: The container should have an appropriate size with drainage holes. My container size is 12 inch and it has already given me 3 harvests and still lettuce plants are performing well. The container should have appropriate size because as the lettuce plant grows the root system also expands.

Growing Lettuce in a Container

Sowing the Lettuce

Now you have reached the most important phase of growing lettuce in container. Choose the place that has good access to sunlight. Lettuce loves sunlight. Its large green leaves love to do photosynthesis a lot. So it is highly recommended to move the container into a brighter space with at least 8 hours sunlight access.

Now moving to the sowing phase, fill your container with potting soil up to an inch or even two centimeters below the rim. For direct sowing, place the seed 1/4 to 1/2 half inch deep and then cover with soil. The soil should be moistened.

It is recommended to sow your seeds 4 to 6 inches apart. on the contrary, I have sown my Little Gem lettuce seeds 3 inch apart and I am getting good produce of lettuce in container. However, if you are planning to cultivate Lose Leaf variety of lettuce, 4-6 inch distance is a must. Remember that the seedbed of your lettuce in container never dry out.

Sowing Lettuce Seeds

Caring the Growing Lettuce in Container

Now you have passed the important steps of growing lettuce in a container. Wait for germination. Usually it takes 5 to 10 days for germinating. Your newly born tiny lettuce plants need your care. Following are few points that should be taken care of while growing lettuce in a container.

  • Never add synthetic fertilizer to your lettuce in container of urban garden. The objective of having fresh and organic vegetable garden grown lettuce will die at the moment you add a pinch of fertilizer. So avoid it. The potting soil is already rich in nutrients.
  • Add compost ‘if’ needed.

Prepare Your Compost at Home. How? Here is my DIY Article on Making Compost at Home

  • If temperature is around your kitchen garden is more than 30oC, move your container to a shady place. This is the biggest advantage of growing lettuce in a container to customize it in any manner you need.
  • Avoid drying of soil in your lettuce container.

Believe me, the result of all the previous steps and caring you will add to the growing lettuce in container will result in lush green and healthy lettuce leaves. They will be ready to cut right after six weeks after sowing. You can harvest them with a sharp knife but try to harvest little, just the amount you needed.

Germinating Lettuce

 Hey Guys, don’t forget to like and share this post below. It will be a boost-up for me.

Happy Growing and Eating 🙂

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, September 16). How to Grow Lettuce Leaves In a Container? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]