Saturday, March 31, 2012

Argricultural seasons in India

Kharif Season:
- Starts in June when the South-West monsoon starts.
- Seeds are sown in June and July and crops are harvested in September and October.
- Crops which require large quantities of water are cultivated during the Kharif season.
E.g. of crops are rice, sugar-cane, jute, cotton, tobacco, maize etc.

Rabi Season
- Starts in the middle of October when the South-West monsoon retreats and the North-East Monsoon begins.
- Seeds are sown in October and crops are harvested in March and April.
- Crops which require less water are grown during the rabi season.
E.g of crops are wheat, barley, gram, mustard, linseed etc. These crops require cooler conditions and less moisture.

Zaid crops:
- Crops which are grown throughout the year in all parts of the country under artificial irrigation,
E.g. of crops are rice, maize, melons, groundnut, water melons, cucumber, leafy and tuber vegetables etc.

Other types of Agriculture.

Nomadic Herding.- The rearing of animals on natural pastures.
- Practise is followed by the people of the semi arid and arid regions, who keep moving with their animals in search of natural pastures and lead a nomadic life.
- Type of animal reared differ from one region to another (Typical regions: Northern Africa, parts of Arabia and parts of northern Eurasia)
- Subsistence farming.

Livestock Ranching
- The rearing of animals while farmers live a settled life.
- Large area required for animal grazing, such as the low rainfall areas of North America, South America and Australia
- Kept in ranches and reared mainly for meat and wool
-Commerical based.

Miditerranean Agriculture
- Major crops: Wheat, vineyards and citrus fruits
- Major livestock: Small animals reared in
- Horticulture is a major activity and most of the crops other than these plantations are grown in winter with the help of winter rains.

Commercial grain farming
- A response to farm mechanisation and the major type of activity in areas with low rainfall and low pooulation density.
- Prone to the vagaries of weather, droughts
( Prairies, steppes and the temperate grasslands of South America and Australia)

Livestock and grain farming
- Known as mixed farming
- Originated in the humid areas of the middle latitudes
- An effort is made to get the best out of crop farming and animal rearing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Plantation agriculture

Plantation agriculture is a form of commercial farming where crops are grown for profit. Large land areas are needed for this type of agriculture. Countries that have plantation agriculture usually experience high annual temperatures and receive high annual rainfall. Plantations are mainly found in countries that have a tropical climate.

Plantation agriculture has its roots in the past. In the early 18th and 19th centuries, a number of plantations were set up by westerners and western companies. They employed either local and foreign workers who were willing to work for a small wage. For example, the rubber plantations set up by the British in Malaya employed many workers from India. Today, most plantatons are owned by the local governments or big compnies.

-Plantation agriculture is a form of commercial farming where crops are grown for sale. Some crops are sold as raw materials to manufactoring industries.

-Land: Plantations are huge and can extend from a few hectares to a few thousand hectares. For example, in Malaysia, an oil palm plantation is usually at leasy 40 hectares in size.

-Capital: A large amount of capital is put into building roads, buying machinery and building factories to process the crops harvested from the plantations.
Plantation owners also invest large amounts of their capital on fertilisers and pesticides. Fertilisers are applied to plantation crops as frequently as these crops use up nutrients from the land quickly. Since plantations usually grow one type of crop, pest attacks can cause total destruction of the plantations. Pesticides are therefore used in huge quantities to prevent crops from being entirely destryed by pests.

--Labour: Due to the large size of a plantation, a lot of labour is needed to tend to the crops and work in the nearby processing factories. For example in Malaysia;s large rubber plantations, many workers are hired to tap latex from rubber trees.

-the total output of a plantation is usually high. However, as a plantation covers a wide area of land, its output per unit are is usully low.

-Usually, only one type p crop is grown in a plantation. Common examples include rubber, coffee, tea, bananas, sugar cane, oil palm, cocoa and tobacco

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Wet rice cultivation

Rice is a very important food crop that is the staple diet of at least half of the world's population. Rice is mostly eaten in Asia, where 90 percent of the world's rice is grown. Outside Asia, the main rice-growing countries are Egypt, Italy, Spain, Brazil and the United States of America.

There are many varieties of rice. Most of the rice grown in Asia is wet rice. Wet rice cultivation is the growing of rice in flooded fields. Wet rice is known as padi in malay. The hot and wet climate in many parts of Asia makes it suitable for wet rice cultivation. This is because rice seeds require high temperatures to grow. Moreover, the high rainfall provides abundant water to flood the fields as padi needs a lot of water to grow.

There are several stages of wet rice cultivation:

The padi fields are first ploughed with the help of animals or tractors. The fields are then flooded with water channelled from rivers or obtained from direct rainfall. Meanwhile, padi seeds are scattered onto a smaller field called a nursery, where they sprout into seedlings.

After three to six months, the padi is ready for harvest. The fields are drained and the padi is harvested by hand using sickles. After three to four weeks, the seedlings are transplanted, that is, moved and planted into the flooded fields. The fields are regularly weeded and fertilisers are added.

-Traditionally, wet rice cultivation is a form of subsistence agriculture. Today, wet rice cultivation is also practiced as commercial agriculture. Some countries produce enough rice to sell overseas. An example of a major rice-exporting country is thailand.

-Land: Flat land with clayey soil is the most ideal for wet rice cultivation as this can help retain water. In hilly places in the philippines and Indonesia, steps are cut into the hill slopes to create terraces (flat land) for growing rice.
The size of the farm is generally small. In countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, the size of the plot is usually no more than 2 hectares (equivalent to the size of three football fields).

-Capital: Wet rice cultivation traditionally does not require large amounts of capital. In the past, little machinery was used as family members provided the labour. Sickles and wooden ploughs were mainly used. Also, the seeds for cultivation were saved from the previous harvest. Today, more inputs are used. Machinery such as tractors are used for ploughing, and combine harvesters for harvesting. Governments and research institutes spend more money on research to develop better seeds, pesticides and fertilisers. Canals are also built for irrigating the fields

-Labour: Wet rice cultivation requires much labour. The farmer's families or hired workers usually provide this labour. Farmers work hard to flood the fields by building low walls called bunds. Planting, weeding, and application of fertilisers are usually done by hand. Animals such ad water buffaloes may be used to help plough the land.

-The output per unit are of the farm is generally high. Since the 1960s, newer varieties of wet rice have been developed. These varieties take a shorter time to mature and can produce more output per hectare. They are also more resistant to diseases and pests.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Shifting cultivation

Shifting cultivation is a type of farming where people make temporary clearings in the forest to grow food. When the soil is no longer fertile after two to three years, the shifting cultivators abandon the field to look for another suitable plot of land. The first field is left to fallow, or rest, while the cultivators begin the cycle of activities on a new plot of land.The farmers may return to the same plot of land after 20 to 30 years.

Shifting cultivation id also known as ladang cultivation in Southeast Asia. There are 5 stages in shifting cultivation.

Stage 1: Selecting a plot of land
The headman of the tribe first chooses a plot of land in the forest.Trees in the area are felled and the undergrowth is cleared at the beginning of the dry season.

Stage 2: Burning the felled trees
The trees are left to dry before they are burnt. The ashes of the burnt trees act as fertilisers for the soil.

Stage 3: Planting
Planting is carried out after the ground has cooled. Holes are made witha dibble stick, into which seeds could be dropped.

Stage 4: Harvesting
Harvesting usually takes place during the dry season.

Stage 5: Fallowing
After a few years of cultivation, the soil loses its fertility. farmers then move on to look for a new plot of land, leaving the first field to fallow or rest. They may return to the same plot of lnf afetr a period of time.

Characteristics of shifting cultivation:

-Shifting cultivation is one of the earliest types of subsistence agriculture. The farmers grow enough food to feed themselves and their family.
-Also practised by trial people residing in forests.
Even though a small plot of land is cultivated each time, shiftig cultivation takes up large areas of forest land because farmers move on to another plot of land every few years.

Hardly any capital is required for shifting cultivation. The farmers use simple tools such as machetes, sickles, axes and sticks. Instead of buying seeds, they use seeds saved from the prrevious harvest.

Much work is required in the clearing and burning of trees and undergrowth , as well as in the sowimg of seeds. Less work, however, is required durimg the growing process. This is because the grops are not given any special care, other than some weeding by hand. Family members usually provide the labor for this kind of agriculture.

-the output per unit area is low and usually only enough to feed the farmer's family.
-A small variety of crops are grown. Examples include dryland rice, bananas, maize and tapioca.
-Output is usually only sufficient for survival