Agriculture Corner

Principles of Agricultural Extension


Principles in any field of knowledge provide the foundation stone of laws and manners of carrying out research and development activities in a systematic way to achieve the desired goals and objectives. In agricultural extension, there are also certain principles on which the subject matter is based on. These principles guide the agricultural extension officer and service provider to work in an organized way to ensure smooth flow of agricultural extension service at the door step of farmers. By following these principles, the importance of agricultural extension increases many folds. The principles are;

1 Individuals are at Core of a Society

It is a fact that individuals are the building block of an economy and nation. An individual is a part of a group. Different groups work and interact together to make a society and as a result a nation is built. So the significance of an individual cannot be denied.

By keeping this in mind, the first principle of agriculture extension is to recognize the importance of each farmer in a community or village and he should be contacted individually. Every farmer has different problem and require peculiar solution to the problem. The agricultural extension officer has to contact the farmers individually instead of meeting them in groups. Though gatherings are required in certain activities, but contacting individual farmers is proved beneficial in prospering agriculture sector.

2 Providing Education

Being a human being, education is a basic right of every individual. On the other hand, the rural citizens (mostly farmers) have exploring nature and they are always ready to get new information related to their farming activity.

For an area, agricultural extension service should be designed in such a manner that it caters the needs of small as well as large farmers in a village. Agricultural extension officer should be equipped with modern and innovative knowledge so that they can transfer this knowledge to the farming community well on time. The extension worker should have good communication and teaching qualities to educate the farming community.

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Agriculture Corner

Concept of Education in Agriculture Extension


Agriculture sector is the backbone of economy for many nations especially in the third world. In addition to this, the sector is also the sole responsible for ensuring food security globally. So the importance of agriculture is of core importance for developed as well as for underdeveloped nations.

As we all know, agriculture has several branches or agencies in which it is divided. One of these is the Agriculture Extension. The department of agriculture extension has the pivotal role in the development of agriculture sector as a whole.

Agriculture extension office is not only responsible for dissemination of technology and innovation to the farmers, but also aids in providing solutions to the problems of farming community.  Agriculture extension services provided are basically act as bridge of communication between the scientists and farmers. Thus to ensure advancement in agriculture sector of any country, department of agriculture extension needs to be updated regularly.

Education and Agriculture Extension

Agriculture extension is basically educating the farming community. So basically, it uses the principle of education to teach farmers about farming techniques. Farmers are just like students in this system and making them learn is the objective. So it is important to look at what is the concept of education in agriculture extension.

As we all know, education is sum of all activities and procedures that are carried out to bring the desirable changes and mold human behavior according to the need. The education is divided into three categories according to the environment in which it is provided. These three categories are;

  1. Formal education
  2. Non-formal education
  3. Informal education

In agriculture extension, these types of education are either provided by department of agriculture extension in universities or training institutes or by agriculture extension office in the respective districts. However the aim of both is to provide state of the art and modern agriculture extension services to their farming community for prosperous agriculture sector.

Let us study a brief about all three types of education system to get deep insight about the topic.

1 Formal Education

As the name portrays what could be the meaning of formal education in agriculture extension? In this type of education, a well-structured system of education exits, provided in the teaching institutes and universities by the department of agriculture extension. This type of education is provided within the four walls of teaching institute.

Characteristics: The characteristics of formal education include a proper dress code, attendance system for the learners, examination at the end of a session, students are provided with degrees and diplomas, homogeneous audience (age), prescribed syllabus, and usually one way flow of knowledge.

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Agriculture Corner

Horticultural Classification of Vegetables in Agriculture (Part 2)


In part 1 of Horticultural Classification of Vegetables in Agriculture, it was presented that, vegetables are classified into 4 groups. This classification is based on a set criterion to understand, study and deal with each vegetable according to its peculiar requirements. The four classes were;

  1. Botanical features
  2. Life cycle
  3. Adaptation
  4. Edible and Economic Part

This article will now discuss about the last two classes of vegetables based on Adaptation and Edible or Economic Part criteria. Like in the previous part, each class has sub-classes, and at the end of each sub-class, you will find suitable examples of vegetables belong to each sub-class.

Also Read: Horticultural Classification of Vegetables in Agriculture (Part 1)

Vegetable Classification Based on Adaptation Features

In agriculture, vegetables are also classified on the basis of the pattern of their adaptation. This means, vegetables can be grouped on the basis of their preferred temperature in which they grow optimally. More precisely, certain vegetables like cool temperature to grow while, some grow best in warm temperature. So, based on the season, vegetables are further sub-classed into Cool Season Vegetables and Warm Season Vegetables.

Cool Season Vegetables: Vegetables that require low temperature to grow are known as Cool Season Vegetables. The monthly temperature requirement ranges between 60oF to 65oF (15oC to 18oC). The temperature factor is important because in case of high temperature, it increases bolting or premature flowers which results in bitter taste vegetables especially in Cilantro and Lettuce. Arugula, Carrots, Broccoli, Beets, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage and Collards are well known examples of Cool Season Vegetables.

Warm Season Vegetables: Vegetables that require high temperature to grow are known as Warm Season Vegetables. Generally, these vegetables are grown during summer season. The monthly temperature requirement ranges between 65oF to 81oF (18oC to 27oC). Besides high temperature, Warm Season Vegetables also require warm soil to have proper growth and fruiting. The Warm Season Vegetables are killed with the onset of frost during winter season. Suitable examples of these vegetables include Okra, Pumpkins, Peppers, Zucchini, Basil, Eggplant, Edamame, Cucumber and Corn.

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Agriculture Corner

Horticultural Classification of Vegetables in Agriculture (Part 1)


In agriculture sciences, there exists a proper system of classification for vegetables. The reason is to understand, study and deal with each vegetable according to its peculiar requirements. This article will discuss the horticultural classification of vegetables in agriculture.

In general, vegetable are classified into 4 classes based on;

  1. Botanical features
  2. Life cycle
  3. Adaptation
  4. Edible or Economic Part

Vegetable Classification Based on Botanical Features

In this class, vegetables are grouped together in such a way that exhibits common features and characteristics. Based on botanical features, vegetables are further divided into 3 sub-classes.

Solanaceous Vegetables or Solanaceous Plants: Solanaceous vegetables belong to the major group known as Angiosperms while they are related to the family Solanaceae. The word Solanaceae is derived from the genus Solanum which means “the nightshade plants’. Solanaceous vegetables include Tomato, Solanum, Egg Plant, Okra, Goji Berries, Sorrel etc.

Vine Vegetables or Vines: Vine vegetables have peculiar characteristics of a stem system that needs support to climb. If physical support is not available, then the Vine vegetables start to grow on the ground. In agriculture, Vine vegetables are also known as ‘climbing vegetables’. Interestingly, if no support is provided to stems, and other plants are present nearby, they start to crawl on these plants. Well known examples of Vine vegetables are Cucumber, Pumpkin, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Beans etc.

Cole Vegetables or Cole Crops: In agriculture, the vegetables that belong to the mustard family are referred to as Cole crops. They are also termed as Cruciferous vegetables. Examples of Cole Vegetables include Brussels sprouts, Kale, cabbage, cauliflower, Kohlrabi etc.

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Agriculture Corner

Classification of Crop Plants in Agriculture: Seasonal & Special Purpose Crops


Like agronomic classification, crops are further classified into two categories based on season and special purpose for which they are grown. This kind of classification allows easy understanding of crops, characteristics and their use accordingly for the agriculture students and knowledge seekers.

This article is the extension of the previous article that presented 10 crops based on agronomic classification. Before discussing each crop in seasonal and special purpose classification system, let’s get familiar with the names of crops in each category. 

Agronomic Classification of Crops in Agriculture

In Seasonal classification, crops are divided into 4 groups. These are;

  • Rabi Crops
  • Zaid Rabi Crops
  • Kharif Crops
  • Zaid Kharif Crops

In Special Purpose classification scheme, crops are divided into 5 groups. These are;

  • Catch Crops
  • Trap Crops
  • Silage Crops
  • Cover Crops
  • Soiling Crops

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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

Soil Pollution and Future Demands from Agriculture Sector


Soil pollution is a condition in which soil become rich in pollutants, contaminants and toxic materials and it poses threat to human life, agriculture, animals and other macro and microorganisms. In other words, soil pollution is the beginning of death of soil, failing to sustain any kind of production in terms of agriculture and wildlife on it. Arable land turns into desert land and threats food security ultimately.

Reasons of Soil Pollution

The reason of soil pollution is both natural and man-made. Global warming, climate change are regarded as natural factors of soil pollution while, excess usage of fertilizers, pesticides, weedicides and herbicides is damaging the natural order of soil, thus polluting it and making it weak. It is a global phenomenon that soils are becoming less and less productive and fertile due to degrading organic matter.

Natural Causes of Soil Pollution

Among many, common natural causes of soil pollution is the natural amassing of compounds in soil resulting from imbalances between atmospheric deposition and leaking away with precipitation water. This is common in arid environments where concentration and accumulation of per-chlorate in soils results in soil pollution.

In some cases, thunderstorm also creates environment for soil pollution. This happens when chlorine source or metallic objects present in the soil use energy generated from thunderstorm to generate per-chlorate in the soil.

Man-made Causes of Soil Pollution

  • Accident leaks and spills.
  • Mining activities.
  • Agricultural activities resulting in release of pesticide, fertilizer etc.
  • Transport activities releasing toxic smoke and emissions.
  • Cracked paint chips.
  • The storage of waste in landfills.

Soil Erosion Causing Death of Soil to Sustain Agriculture

Soil erosion is another factor causing soil pollution. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) stated recently that 75 billion tons of soil which is almost equivalent to 10 million hectares of land is lost due to erosion, water-logging and salination annually. On top of it, additional 20 million hectares of land is abandoned and not under any cultivation due to poor quality soil and degradation.

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Agriculture Corner

Proper Crop Selection for Arid or Dryland Agriculture


In Arid Agriculture or dryland farming systems, selection of proper crop is critical to generate healthy revenue. For selection of appropriate crop for your farm, there are numerous factors to be considered before actually entering into farming business. While farmers of irrigated land may select their crops on the basis of profitability, a dryland or arid farmer has to select appropriate crop considering two factors. These are

  • Adaptability in arid environment
  • Profitability

Thus an arid farmer has a lot on stake when it comes to farming. Any deviation in regular pattern of rainfall can bring loss to farmer’s investment. Agriculture is gambling, but arid agriculture is far more than just gambling. This article will discuss important factors that should be kept in mind before starting any agriculture activity in any arid zone of the world.

1. Ocular Screening of the Land

To start farming in arid lands, an ecological skimming should be carried out. This is not a technical thing. It just include a deep ocular scrutiny and other approaches to acquire evidences on the biotic factor that have direct or indirect link with the  plant growth and its yield, climatic conditions prevailing in the surrounding area, soil properties, infrastructural needs and accessibility. Summarizing, the rule should be to know your farm then select the right crop.

2. Disease History of the Area

Here it is important to mention that a biotic scan will aid in knowing any symptoms of diseases prevailing in the area. In the case of diseases, disease resistant varieties can be selected for farming and susceptible crops may be omitted.

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Career in Agriculture

Introduction and Career in Food Technology


Food technology, yes the most favorite branch of female under-graduates to join. May be the trend differs in your country, but here in Pakistan, females of my batch and now my agriculture students are crazy to join this branch of agricultural science. In the agriculture degree program, Food Technology is consider as a premium specialization subject. If you are pursuing a career in agriculture, Food Technology is a good option.

There was a time a decade ago when I had to choose a subject to specialize among many others (horticulture, soil science, plant pathology, agriculture extension, agronomy etc.) at the end of 4th semester of B. Sc. (HONS.) Agricultural Program. My first choice was also food technology. However, later due to unavoidable circumstances, I selected Agricultural Economics. But that doesn’t mean food technology is not my favorite anymore. The reason is simple. My love for food is not a hidden truth. 🙂

Coming back to the topic, let me introduce you with food technology. It is a branch of agriculture (and in many cases it is also regarded as branch of food sciences) that deals with the practices of production that makes food. Many food scientists consider Nicolas Appert as a pioneer who laid foundation stone of food technology when he first tried to preserve food by a canning process in 1810. In fact early food tech. procedures were concerned more with food preservation. Then Louis Pasture’s work in 1864 on evading spoilage of wine paved the path to handle food in scientific manner.

Food technology is the application of food science for selection, processing, packaging, preservation and distribution of food in a safe mode. Now at this point, question arises, what is food science then? Well food science deals with physical, chemical and biological makeup of food. It also deals with exploring reasons of food deterioration. Summarizing, food science deals with the concepts that are underlying food processing as a whole.

Career in Food Technology

Food technology is a wide field of science. As far as its career opportunities are concerned, these are vast also. Why? Demand for food is never going to end. In fact, the demand will increase with the population explosion we are witnessing globally. With the inventions of innovative modes of food manufacturing, the taste of people is also changing.

In short, today demand of food from taste perspective is different and complex as compare to 2-3 decades ago. Similarly, features like quality control and quality assurance are also playing significant role in increasing demand of food scientists.

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