Portal:Agriculture and Agronomy

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Ploughing rice paddies with water buffalo, in Indonesia.

Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization. The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science. The history of agriculture dates back thousands of years, and its development has been driven and defined by greatly different climates, cultures, and technologies. However, all farming generally relies on techniques to expand and maintain the lands suitable for raising domesticated species. For plants, this usually requires some form of irrigation, although there are methods of dryland farming; pastoral herding on rangeland is still the most common means of raising livestock. In the developed world, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture has become the dominant system of modern farming, although there is growing support for sustainable agriculture. The major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers, fuels, and raw materials.

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Wheat close-up.JPG
Pictured left: Wheat

Wheat (Triticum spp.)[1] is a grass, originally from the Fertile Crescent region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize (784 million tons) and rice (651 million tons).[2] Globally, wheat is the leading source of vegetable protein in human food, having a higher protein content than either maize (corn) or rice, the other major cereals. In terms of total production tonnages used for food, it is currently second to rice as the main human food crop, and ahead of maize, after allowing for maize's more extensive use in animal feeds.

Wheat normally needs between 110 and 130 days between planting and harvest, depending upon climate, seed type, and soil conditions (winter wheat lies dormant during a winter freeze). Optimal crop management requires that the farmer have a detailed understanding of each stage of development in the growing plants. In particular, spring fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, growth regulators are typically applied only at specific stages of plant development. Several systems exist to identify crop stages, with the Feekes and Zadoks scales being the most widely used. Each scale is a standard system which describes successive stages reached by the crop during the agricultural season.

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Sustainable agriculture

Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It has been defined as "an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term:

Sustainable agriculture in the United States was addressed by the 1990 farm bill.[4] More recently, as consumer and retail demand for sustainable products has risen, organizations such as Food Alliance and Protected Harvest have started to provide measurement standards and certification programs for what constitutes a sustainably grown crop.[5]

  1. ^ Belderok, Bob & Hans Mesdag & Dingena A. Donner. (2000) Bread-Making Quality of Wheat. Springer. p.3. ISBN 0-7923-6383-3.
  2. ^ "Faostat". 2007. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  3. ^ Gold, M. (July 2009). What is Sustainable Agriculture?. United States Department of Agriculture, Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.
  4. ^ Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (FACTA), Public Law 101-624, Title XVI, Subtitle A, Section 1603
  5. ^ Organic and non-GMO Report. New certification programs aim to encourage sustainable farming.

Categories: Sustainable agriculture, Sustainability

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