Agriculture Corner

Branches of Soil Science


Soil is a natural resource. It exists on the earth surface even before the existence of mankind on earth. So to study soil from various dynamics and its relation with other entities whether living or non-living things, a branch of science was designated called as soil science. So Soil Science is the branch of science that studies soil formation, its mapping and classification, properties including physical, chemical and biological and management of soil for various purposes. This is has enabled the scientists to craft various branches of soil science.

Branches of Soil Science

Due to this importance of soil, scientists divide soil science into various branches for easy understanding of various soil phenomenon. There are 8 branches of soil science. These include;

  • Soil Physics
  • Soil Chemistry
  • Soil Biology
  • Soil Mineralogy
  • Soil Fertility
  • Soil Genesis and Classification (Pedology)
  • Soil Survey
  • Soil Technology

Soil Physics

Soil has a mechanical behavior. By mechanical behavior, it means soil has physical properties and through which it control physical process in and through the soil. There is a need to measure that control of soil over various physical processes and for this, soil physics is the branch of soil science that focuses on this phenomenon.

Soil Chemistry

This branch of soil science deals with the study of chemical properties and composition of soil. It also studies the chemical processes that takes place in soil.

Soil Biology

This branch deals with the soil ecology. In this, scientists study the role of living organisms in biological transformations that take place in soil.

Soil Mineralogy

The study of minerals present in the soil is focused in soil mineralogy. It also includes the study of contribution made by those minerals in soil physical, chemical, biological and fertility and their relation to the genesis of soil.

Soil Fertility

The status of nutrients present in the soil and the ability of soil to provide these nutrients to the crops or plants for optimum growth under finest environmental conditions like temperature, light etc.

Soil Genesis and Classification (Pedology)

The study of weathering of rocks and minerals and soil formation is studied under this branch of soil science. It also includes the classification of soil in recognized manner.

Soil Survey

Systematic analysis and examination of soil in the laboratories as well as in fields is studied in soil survey. It also includes the study of adaptability of soils to various crops in different areas and also interpretation of soil according to soil productivity under different management systems.

Soil Technology

It is an applied side of the soil science. It deals with the study of principles and the practices of soil erosion and conservation. It also deals with the soil health or soil problems that include salinity, sodic (alkaline), acidic, degradation, water logging etc.

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, March 10). Branches of Soil Science [Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]

Agriculture Corner

How Soil is formed?


To many new agriculture entrants and knowledge seekers, it is new for them to know that soil is actually formed. So this article will focus on answering the question that how soil is formed? Soil is actually formed due to weathering of minerals are rocks. By weathering, it means soil is formed due to deterioration of minerals and rocks on the earth surface due to several naturally occurring physical, chemical and biological factors. Or in other words, weathering refers to the decomposition and disintegration or fragmentation of rocks and minerals by natural processes as mentioned before.

How Soil is Formed?

Formation of Soil

In the first stage of weathering, parent material is formed that is then subjected to a sequence of soil forming processes. The soils that are formed at the place of parent material are also called as sedentary soils. Before the starting of soil formation process, there is fair chance that parent material may get transported from one place to another under the action of wind, water, snow or gravity. It is there where further process of soil formation will start. 

It is noteworthy that depending on the agent that transports soil, soils ate categorized into following types. These are;

  1. Alluvial, lacustrine and marine soils (Water)
  2. Glacial soils (ice or snow)
  3. Aeolian Soils (wind)
  4. Colluvial soils (gravity)

It is also important to understand that soil’s transporting agency may be more than one. In that case the dominant agency will be considered for naming the soil.

In addition to weathering, climatic factors like temperature, precipitation, organisms (fauna and flora) and slope/elevation also act and work on parent material to generate soil but at a slow process over the time.

The ways soil forming factors play their role depend upon the types of rock. If the rock is hard, action of soil forming factors is shallow. In case of soft rock, the action is deep. After sufficient and thick mantle of soil material is formed over a rock surface, the process of weathering slows down.

The soils formed from rocks and minerals are generally composed of iron and aluminum silicates. After deposition at a place, soon the soil becomes the home of micro-organisms, animals and plants. After the death and decay of these organisms, they get mix with the soil and add organic matter to the soil. Thus mineral particles along with the organic matter become the soil body. This means soil is not a dead body in fact it houses billions and billions of  soil organisms that create and run soil activities.

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, March 09). How Soil is formed? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]

Agriculture Corner

Genetically Modified Crops in Agriculture


Genetically modified crops in agriculture, also referred to as genetically modified foods, are those crops that are tested and modified in laboratory according to the desired traits with the aim to increase the nutritional status of that crop or food. The question arises here, that when breeding techniques are available then why there is need of genetically modified crops in agriculture.

Need of Genetically Modified Crops in Agriculture

These crops were introduced because of the fact that the method of getting desired traits and characteristics in crops through traditional breeding was time consuming and the probability of getting the desired result is low. Whereas in genetically modified crops, the genetic engineering creates plants or crops with fast, accurate and exact results as per requirement.

How Genetically Modified Crops are Made?

In Genetically Modified Crops, the genes are transferred between organisms. These are transferred by using sequence of laboratory techniques to clone the genes by splicing the DNA segments together and ultimately inserting the modified genes into the cells of plants in which modification is needed. The aggregate of these techniques is also called as recombinant DNA technology.

Other Terms Used for Genetically Modified Crops

There are several other terms in use for Genetically Modified Crops or foods. The terms are;

  • Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)
  • Genetically Engineered (GE)
  • Bio-Engineered Crops
  • Transgenic Crops

The term ‘Genetically modified’ is confusing for some people. How? It is a fact that almost everything we consume today as food is actually modified genetically. This is because the crops we are eating are domesticated from wild species and passed through many generations of selection by humans to modify them for desirable traits. However in actual, genetically modified here refers  to indicate the use of recombinant DNA technology in crop production or food manufacturing.

What is inserted into a Genetically Modified Crops?

The DNA fragments inserted contains genes with desired traits. These genes have the DNA sequence information encoding specific proteins. In addition to this, it also contains DNA segments which control assembly of the proteins.

An important aspect in genetic engineering of crops is that the inserted fragment of DNA also has a marker gene. The concept behind marker gene is to easily identify plants that have been incorporated with the transferred genes into their chromosomes.

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, March 08). Genetically Modified Crops in Agriculture [Blog Post]. Retrieved from [/box]

Agriculture Corner

Bio-fertilizers in Agriculture


With the introduction of the concept of organic farming and its wider demand and acceptability, there are new horizons opening in the agriculture field that are more human and environment friendly. One of these is the introduction of bio-fertilizers in agriculture. There has been great awareness among the masses in global farming community to route the efforts in more secure soil management techniques to have sustainable soil fertility.

What is Bio-fertilizer?

These are also called as microbial fertilizers or microbial inoculants that are prepared in such a way that contain live or latent cells of efficient strains of nitrogen fixing micro-organisms. These are used for seed application or soil application with the aim of increasing those organisms in the soil that improve micro biologically fixed nitrogen for plant growth.

Why Need of Bio-fertilizer?

It is estimated that there is about 80,000 tons of nitrogen over the atmosphere of hectare of land. This shows sufficient amount of nitrogen is available around, however it is in inert form and is not readily available for the plants to use. To make it available for the plant use, biological nitrogen fixation is carried out by specialized bacteria and algae that convert the inert nitrogen into plant usable nitrogen. These bacteria or algae have specialized enzyme called nitrogenase that facilitates this fixation. Hence inert N2 is converted to NH3 that is easily use by plants.

Bio-fertilizers in agriculture improve the physical properties of soil. The aeration in soil increase and hence it ultimately improves the soil fertility. Biomass content as well as nutrient availability along with efficient absorption of other nutrient increase like Phosphorus. They also help in enhancing plant growth through release of vitamins, hormones and auxins. Last but not least, bio-fertilizers in agriculture also help in proliferation of beneficial micro-organisms that are beneficial in suppressing soil borne pathogens.

Types of Bio-fertilizers in Agriculture

Depending upon the targeted function they perform, bio-fertilizers in agriculture are divided into 6 types. These are;

  1. Growth promoters excreting micro-organisms.
  2. Biological Nitrogen fixing micro-organisms.
  3. Making soluble Potash micro-organisms.
  4. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.
  5. Solubilized and mobilized Potash making micro-organisms.
  6. Sulphur mobilizing micro-organisms.

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, March 07). Bio-fertilizers in Agriculture [Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]

Agriculture Corner

Differences between Insect and Pest


There is a confusion exists between insects and pests. Some people consider these both as same because of many similarities. However, in realty, there exists a clear demarcation between the two and there are several differences between insect and pest. This article will guide the entomology students, learners and knowledge seekers about the marked differences between insect and pest. Before going further, let us concentrate first on the definition of an insect and pest.

Definition of Insect

The word insect is derived from a Latin word “insectum” which means cut into sections. It is a class of invertebrates within the Arthropoda phylum that have exoskeleton in their bodies. The body of an insect is divided into three distinct parts or regions. These are the head region, throat region and the abdomen. Furthermore, insects have three pairs of legs (three legs on each side of the body). The eyes are of compound nature. In the head region, there exists a pair of antennae.

Definition of Pest

A pest may be defined as any organism that harms or causes damage to humans and plants directly or indirectly. These include rodents, insects and mites. All insects are not harmful but all pests are harmful to living organisms. These include includes insects, mites, ticks, birds, nematodes, mammals and plants. On the other hand, invertebrate pests include parasites like bed bugs, lice etc. and disease transmitting agents like flies, mosquitoes, thrips etc. while damage causing agents includes the termites.

Major Differences between Insect and Pest

  1. All pests are harmful to human beings while some insects are important and beneficial.
  2. Killing agents use to kill pests are called pesticides while those agents use for killing insects are called insecticides.
  3. An interesting thing to note is that there are few insects that are pests at the larval stage. However, they become beneficial organisms at the adult stage like moths.

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, March 06). Differences between Insect and Pest[Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]

Agriculture Corner

Agriculture Crop Classification on Life Cycle Basis


Agriculture crop classification on life cycle basis is another method of classifying crops in agriculture. in this kind of classification, the crops are classified on the basis of the time they take to complete their life cycle. Some crops take short term period to complete life cycle from sowing to harvesting and some need two seasons to grow even some take years to complete their life cycle.

So agronomist has classified crops also on the basis of life cycle. There are mainly three classes of crops in agriculture bases on life cycle. These are;

  1. Annual Crops
  2. Biennial Crops
  3. Perennial Crops

Agriculture Crop Classification on Life Cycle Basis

Annual Crops

These are the crops that produce seeds at the end of their life cycle and complete their life cycle within one year are called as annual crops. Most important staple crops of the world belong to this class of agriculture.

Examples: Wheat, Rice, Maize etc.

Biennial Crops

The crops included in this class complete their life cycle during second season or year. During the first season, the crops show only vegetative growth. During vegetative growth, they reserve food in their roots and other parts underground in the soil. During second season of their life cycle, they start to show flowers and seed. During this stage, the reserved food of previous season is utilized to produce flower and seeds. These crops are biennials however they are treated as annuals so that they can remain fit for human consumption.

Examples: Carrot, Turnip, radish, onion etc.

Perennial Crops

These are long life crops. These crops complete their life cycle in two or more than two years. The Perennial crops may produce seed every year, still their life cycle comprises of two or more than two years. An advantage of this crop is that these crops have very long and extensive root system so they are helpful in eradicating erosion problem in soil.

Example: Sugarcane, perennial rice, perennial sunflower etc.

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, March 05). Agriculture Crop Classification on Life Cycle Basis[Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]

Agriculture Corner

Branches of Entomology


The word Entomology is derived from a Greek word “entomone” and “logia”. If we look at the meaning of these two words, “entomone” means insects while “logia” meaning the study. Keeping this in view, we can define entomology as the branch of zoology that deals with the scientific study of insects. Furthermore, entomology also explores the linkages between insects themselves and also the relationship of insects with other organisms including plant and animal on earth. This enables the scientists to divide entomology into various branches of entomology for easy understanding of the subject and also to classify insects in their particular groups based on their characteristics.

Following are the branches of entomology;

  1. Insect Ecology
  2. Insect Morphology
  3. Insect Pathology
  4. Insect Physiology
  5. Insect Taxonomy
  6. Insect Toxicology
  7. Industrial Entomology
  8. Medical and Veterinary Entomology
  9. Biological Control Entomology
  10. Post-Harvest Entomology
  11. Forensic Entomology
  12. Forest Entomology
  13. Crop Protection Entomology

Branches of Entomology

Insect Ecology

This branch of entomology deals with the relationships of insects with their environment. This branch focuses on the study and analysis of presence of insects in an ecosystem. The aim is the preserve the insects not to remove or eradicate them. 

Insect Morphology

The study of insect body parts as well as their function is studied in this branch of entomology. This branch deals mostly with the external body parts of an insect.

Insect Pathology

The diseases that may harm or effect the health of insects is studied in this branch of entomology. In this, scientist uses disease agents or vectors to get rid of certain pests that may harm useful insects. It also include, getting rid of those pests that harm agriculture.

Insect Physiology

This branch of entomology deals with various functions and behavioral systems present inside the insect body. It also includes the study of behavior of different insects with their environment or ecosystem.

Insect Taxonomy

As we know taxonomy is the naming and classification of organisms. So, insect taxonomy is the practice as well as theory of naming the insects. It is a continuous process as there are many unidentified insects still roaming on the planet earth.

Insect Toxicology

This branch of entomology deals with how the insecticides and other chemical affect the insect’s physiological functions. We can say that this branch deals with the field of controlling insects and pest management.

Industrial Entomology

The branch of entomology deals with the study as well as rearing of insects for business or beneficial purposes. This includes honeybee or apiculture, bumblebees, butterflies, silkworms etc. This branch of entomology actually deals with benefit of mankind. On the other hand, it also deals with the removal of harmful insects like termites, cockroaches, houseflies etc. from the houses.

Medical and Veterinary Entomology

Insects not only harm humans, but also animals. This branch of entomology deals with the insects that harm not only humans but effect animals also. It deals everything about medical public health, and veterinary importance such as Malaria, Dengue etc.

Biological Control Entomology

This branch deals with using insects against harmful insects. In other words, friendly insects are used to cater harmful insects thus called as biological control insects. For example, Ladybird eats aphids which destroy wheat crop. Similarly, dragonfly eats those insects that damage crops.

Post-Harvest Entomology

This branch of entomology deals with the study, practice and control of those insects that harm the stored commodities and products like stores wheat, rice etc.

Forensic Entomology

In this branch, the focus is on using the insects to determine or estimate the time, place of human health for legal purposes.

Forest Entomology

This branch of entomology deals with the trees and insects. In other words, in this branch, we study the impact of insects on forests and forest products and design solutions to safeguard trees from serious damage.

Crop Protection Entomology

The branch of entomology that deals with the study of controlling insects from damaging the crops in the fields in called as crop protection entomology. Sometimes, it is also called as agricultural entomology.

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, March 04). Branches of Entomology[Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]

Agriculture Corner

Integrated Pest Management in Agriculture


Pest management has always taken important position while planning and organizing farm management. Climate change has introduced many new kinds of pest that didn’t exist before or not present in a particular place, but they have got suitable climatic condition now. This has increased the responsibilities of agriculturists all-round the globe to find against pest so that goal of profit maximization can be achieved. A new concept in this regard is the Integrated Pest Management or IPM.

Integrated Pest Management is regarded as the most important pest control principle on which the goal of sustainable crop production and crop protection is based. This technique equip the farmers to manage the pests in agriculture field in a cost effective, efficient and environmental friendly way that has also a wider social acceptability.

What is Integrated Pest Management?

United Nations Food and Agriculture and Organization (FAO) defines IPM as;

A pest management system that in the context of the associated environment and the population dynamics of the pest species, utilizes all suitable techniques and methods, in a compatible manner as possible and maintains the pest population at levels below those causing economic injury

Important Aspects of Integrated Pest Management

Following are few aspects that should be given due importance while crafting a sound IPM technology for agriculture farm.

  • In developing countries, agriculture is practiced widely by small and marginal farmers who are poor. So while designing IPM for an area, low input cost should be in mind so to make IPM adaptable by wide range of farmers and farming community.
  • Farmers should be trained regarding the efficient use of inputs (pesticide) so that objective of cost effectiveness is achieved.
  • The IPM should be designed in such a manner to bring down the pest population in agriculture field to a level below the injury level.
  • Technologies developed should be environmentally friendly. This is because, we have polluted our environment enough already, that more damage will bring disastrous impact on human health.
  • Keeping in view the international demand of organic food, the IPM tech applied should not cause any kind of hindrances in the way of exports.
  • Conservation of biodiversity should be given importance.
  • Integrated Pest Management technology should ensure that it will pose no harm to human, animals, friendly insects and birds.

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, March 03). Integrated Pest Management in Agriculture [Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]


Agriculture Corner

Preventive Measures for Weed Control in Agriculture


Weeds are always a piece of headache for the farming community all over the world. This plant not only competes for the nutrients in the soil with the main crops in the field but also cause serious damage to the health of plants. In agriculture, great attention has been devoted to curtail the growth of weeds in the agricultural fields. Each year, new and innovative measures are introduced to cope with weed issues. This article will present four basic but effective, efficient and easy to apply preventive measures for weed control in agriculture sector. The preventive measures presented here are also equally applicable in other types of farming like vegetable gardening, horticultural crops and orchards etc. The preventive measures include;

  1. Using weed free seeds.
  2. Applying weed free manure.
  3. Using weed free agricultural engineering equipment during ploughing and harvesting.
  4. Clean irrigation water passages in and around the agriculture fields.

4 Preventive Measures for Weed Control

Using Weed Free Seeds

In agriculture as well as in vegetable farming, it is a common observation that weed seed get mixed with the seed of main crop. This happens mainly due to poor management and also lack of farmer’s ability to differentiate between weed seed and crop seed. An example of this case is Mirabilis jalapa. This is a common weed in waste lands and is similar in look with Papaya seed. It often gets mixed involuntarily with Papaya seed and results in poor quality papaya seeds.

Applying Weed Free Manure

Manure is one of the big carriers of weed seeds and is also the chief agent of weed problem in agriculture sector. A good example in this case is of Parthenium hyster. This weed flourish extensively in and around manure or where these is abundance of organic matter. After getting into manure, it multiplies very fast and produces innumerable seeds. When this manure is bought to the agriculture field and spread on the soil not only manures mixes with the soil, but also the seeds of this weed spread and start growing along with the main crop. So, it is easy ad effective to ensure that the manure you are collecting for agricultural field is weed free and collected from clean place.

Using Weed Free Agricultural Engineering Equipment during Ploughing and Harvesting

These equipments are major carriers of dispersing weed seeds, stolons, underground nuts and bulbs of perennial weeds. These tools not only spread weeds but in some cases are the agents of introducing new varieties of weeds in a place where they don’t exist previously. This is because, all farmers don’t have access or capacity to purchase these equipment. So they rent these machines. If the machines are not cleaned properly before operation, then there is a fair chance that seeds of weeds from some other areas get introduce in their field.

Clean Irrigation Water Passages in and Around the Agriculture Fields

It is also a fast and easiest way for weeds to get spread through wider and long ranged areas. Seeds of Portulaca oleracea are easily dispersed through water channels to long range areas and end up in vegetable fields like Okra, Brinjal, Garlic, Radish etc. These spread in large numbers and hence its get very difficult to control them. So it is advised that proper and regular cleaning of irrigation water passages or channels should be carried out at regular intervals so minimize the spreading of weeds.

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, March 02). Preventive Measures for Weed Control in Agriculture[Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]

Agriculture Corner

Crop Rotation in Agriculture


In agriculture, crop rotation refers to growing of crops that are different from each other in successions on farm field in a specific period of time. In other words, it is growing of dissimilar crop or no crop during sequential seasons on the same of piece of land. The objective of crop rotation is to get maximum profit from investing minimum or making least investment without harming the fertility of soil.

Historian dates back crop rotation to 6000 B.C. when it was practiced by the farmers of Middle East. Interestingly, it is also believed that those farmers did not know the science behind this practice still the follow it. The logic is simple. It is practiced because if one cultivates same kind of crop over several years, the soil becomes weak and infertile. That same crop requires same kind of nutrients each year. And if crop rotation is not practiced, that kind of nutrients becomes exhausted. These nutrients have an additional duty of keeping the soil stable in terms of keeping the soil texture. In case of same crop growing again and again without crop rotation, the soil becomes susceptible to soil erosion due to weaker bonding between soil particles.

One cycle of crop rotation may acquire 1 or more farming years to complete. For irrigated areas, the farming year is of 12 months. However in rain fed or Barani areas, farming year is restricted to that period of time during which there is adequate availability of soil water.

Crop rotation is carried our extensively and is a common practice. Farm experts are of the view to rotate crops is such a manner that one cereal crop is succeeded by the legumes crop so that crop fertility remain stable.

Benefits of Crop Rotation

  • Effective tool to control pest.
  • Adequate management of nitrogen in soil or create nitrogen balance in soil.
  • Keep soil safe from wind and water erosion.
  • Keep greenhouse gas emissions at sustainable levels.
  • Increased soil productivity.
  • Minimize the use of pesticides thus reducing water and soil pollution.
  • Keeps the soil structure good.
  • Carbon storing ability increases.

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, March 01). Crop Rotation in Agriculture [Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]