Agriculture Corner

Functions of Adult Education in Agriculture


Adult education is one of the key components in agriculture extension service programs, designed for any farming community globally. This is because of the low literacy rate that exits in farming communities especially in the developing nations to make them competitive in farming operations. In the light of this, there are several functions of adult education in agriculture sector. These are categorized into three main functions. Following paragraphs will highlight the functions of adult education in agriculture sector.

Functions of Adult Education in Agriculture

Breaking Orthodoxy and Encouragement

First, out of three functions of adult education in agriculture is the linking of farmers with the innovations and technology of modern day agriculture. Field experience shows that it is hard to convince the farmers to change the way of old farming practices and to adapt to modern agricultural practices due to their risk aversive behavior.

Similarly applying new technology in farming is another issue for farmers due to illiteracy. So first and foremost function of adult education is to break the orthodoxy. They need to be convinced that adopting to change will bring economic fruits from farming. Encouragement is needed for all this process and it is more feasible to indigenize the modern technology so that farmers can understand it easily.

One think should be kept in mind that extension officer must use effective and dynamic extension techniques for transmitting information while involved in adult education in agriculture.  

Bridge the Gap between Farmers and Research

Second function of adult education in agriculture extension is to bridge the gap between research carried out in research institutes and taking problems of farming community to the research institutes. For this purpose, the adult education officer or extension officer should have sound knowledge and grip over the topic which he is going to teach the farmers.

On the other hand, he should also understand the nature of technology which he is going to transfer to the adult farmers. Another function of adult education that is to be performed by the extension officer is to diagnose the reason of the problems faced by farmers at spot, and if possible, suggest the solutions immediately.

Skill Development in Farmers

Third function of adult education is to equip the farmers with the skills especially the managerial skills, so that they can play their productive role in commercial economy. These can be taught by trainings to the farmers by the adult education officer.

These functions of adult education in agriculture are most important in making the farmers successful.

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, May 29). Functions of Adult Education in Agriculture [Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]

Agriculture Corner

Benefits of Integrated Farming System


As discussed in previous article titled Integrated Farming System that it is a system of farming, in which various types of agriculture production activities or enterprises are taking place simultaneously. It is also discussed that it has helped farmers in achieving more economies of scale in farm business. So surely, there are benefits of integrated farming system. This article will now highlight few but important benefits of integrated farming system.

Benefits of Integrated Farming System

Enhanced Productivity is one of the most important benefits of integrated farming system. By increase productivity means that economic yield increases per unit area per unit by time due to intensification of crop and allied farming enterprises.

Profitability factor also increases as productivity increase. This is because we are using the waste material or by-product of one enterprise as an input into other farming enterprise.

Adoption of New Technology is one of the important benefits of integrated farming system. This is because, adoption of technology needs money. Large farmers have finances so they can adopt it easily. However, small farmers usually face shortage in finances. But due to integrated farming system, they have the opportunity to increase their returns from farming and adapt to new technology. 

Environmental Safety is ensured in this approach. How? As we are using the waste material of one enterprise as input into the production function of other type of enterprise, so waste pollution is minimized and hence environmental safety is ensured.

Fight Against Deforestation can win by this approach. Planting timber and fuel wood along with the crops in field not only utilizes the free space of land but also supply wood for many purposes. Hence pressure on natural forests can be reduced and natural ecosystem is preserved.

Few other Benefits of Integrated Farming System

Some other benefits of this type of farming system are listed below;

  • Promotion of Agro-Industry
  • Increased Input Efficiency
  • Cost Minimization for Input Use
  • Increased Employment
  • Fodder Security for Livestock
  • Recycling
  • Continuous Income Round the Year
  • Energy Saving

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, May 27). Benefits of Integrated Farming System [Blog Post]. Retrieved from [/box]


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Agriculture Corner

Adult Education in Agriculture


Adult education in agriculture has a close link. How? As we know, agriculture plays pivotal role in the economic as well as social development of the economy of any nation. In the developing countries, agriculture has central importance due to its direct or indirect involvement in running the engine of economy though generation of employment, production of food, providing raw material for non-agriculture businesses etc.

However in the world of changing technological environment in all sectors of economy and especially in agriculture, there has emerged a bottleneck in achieving desired advancement in agriculture sector especially in developing and third world countries. This is the narrow band of education and illiteracy in these countries. The demand for the establishment of efficient and effective adult educational system in agriculture for the rural farming community is the dire need of time.

The Importance of Adult Education in Agriculture

Agriculture extension is often defined as the out of school and non-formal way of educating the adult farmers in a farming community. It is different from ‘formal education’ in numerous ways. First it is usually carried out in open atmosphere. Second mutual trust and respect is key element between the adult farmers are extension officer or agent. Last but not least, it is the primary process through which adult farmers learn the art of doing farming operations in new and innovative manner using latest technology.

Adult education in agriculture has few characteristics. These are as follows;

  • It is essentially voluntarily,
  • It is demand driven,
  • Problem oriented,
  • Adult education is for action not just an academic exercise,
  • Adult education in agriculture is unique as same level of agricultural art is taught to adult farmers that belong to different formal education level,
  • Farm fields are classrooms for the farmer, and;
  • It has two dimensions of improving the farmer’s livelihood as wee as socio-economic profile of the economy.

A Bottleneck in Programs of Adult Education in Agriculture

A bottleneck or more precisely a problem that resides in programs related to adult education in agriculture is that most of these programs are male oriented and delivered by male extension agents. This deprives the female adult education component and they get neglected and hence true fruits of the adult education in agriculture are not obtained.  

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, May 27). Adult Education in Agriculture [Blog Post]. Retrieved from [/box]


Agriculture Corner

What is a Watershed?


What is a watershed? This is an important question to be addressed before going into its management. Watershed is an area of land that drains or whose runoff drains into a common collecting point. That point may be a river or water pool. It may also be defined as a natural land entity whose runoff is collected and flows out of area by means of a common outlet so that it can reach to another water body. In fact, it is a drainage basin that is bounded by ridges or gullies.

A Brief to What is a Watershed?

Generally, the term drainage area of catchment area is also used for a watershed. The catchment area is larger than the area of watershed which is comparatively small. Watershed area is the unit from the both angles i.e. water body unit and land unit; however, there are distinct units for both water and land in the catchment area. Due to this, the catchment area consists of all the areas or is connected with all the areas from which water flows out into water pool or common river.

An Introduction to Watershed
An Introduction to Watershed

There exists different water catchment area for different river’s tributaries where water flows out into a common large river or water pool. On the other hand, large drainage area is termed as river basin while the water catchment area of a tributary is termed as sub-catchment area. Different catchment area may be identified in it for it’s certain parts. Therefore, the catchment area of this certain part is called watershed area.

There may be discrepancies in the watershed area. When the area is hilly, undulating or rolling, that means that variations are more in number and thus the watershed area is smaller. While in case of plain we get larger watershed area.

The watershed management in an area may be carried out in a mutual manner. In this the watershed for the agriculture purpose may be composed of several field belong to different farmers and they contribute their runoff at a mutual lower point. This runoff movement on the other hand, depends on the land topography. A drawback faced by the farmers in agriculture is that the runoff from the upper fields that enters into the lower fields in watershed results in water and soil erosion.

After having detailed discussion over what is a watershed, let us now discuss the aims and objectives of watershed in agriculture.

Aims and Objectives of Watershed Management

  • To protect, improve and land resources for sustained and efficient production of crops in agriculture.
  • To protect as well as enhance the water resources, reduce silting up of tanks, moderate floods, increase rainwater conservation for irrigation of agriculture crops and ultimately aid in mitigate droughts.
  • To employ the natural indigenous resources for improving agriculture and its allied sectors or industries that will in turn improve the socio-economic conditions of the local habitants.

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, March 12). What is a Watershed? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]

Agriculture Corner

Universal Soil Loss Equation


A universal soil loss equation has been developed by the soil scientists to estimate the soil loss from any area around the globe. The equation uses the values of parameters of the factors that affect the soil erosion. These factors are placed in the equation in such a manner that condition of a place like climate, slope of land, crop management, rainfall, temperature and conservation practices are also accounted to get realistic estimates from the universal soil loss equation.

In the coming line the actual universal soil loss equation will be presented along the description of its components.

Universal Soil Loss Equation

A = R*K*L*S*C*P

The equation has a dependent variable that depends on six other independent variables.

Dependent Variable:

A = Computed or estimates variable that represents soil loss per unit area. This variable is the product of the six variables presented on the right hand side of Universal Soil Loss Equation

Independent Variables:

R = refers to the rainfall factor in soil erosion.

K = the soil erodibility factor. Erodibility factor is the average soil loss per unit area per unit of erosion index from cultivated fallow plot.

L = represents the slope length factor.

S = the slope percentage factor.

C = the crop management factor. This is calculated by the ratio of soil loss under a specific cropping system to that of fallow plot.

P = is the soil conservation or erosion control practice factor like contour farming or strip farming etc.

Any student, farmers or scientist interested in estimating the soil loss from the field under his control can use this equation. It is equally applicable to any sort of erosion viz., water or wind erosion that is damaging the soil and depriving it from the nutrients for optimum crop production.

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2018, March 11). Universal Soil Loss Equation [Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]

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]