A crop is "a plant or animal product that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence." Crop may refer either to the harvested parts or to the harvest in a more refined state (husked, shelled, etc.). Most crops are cultivated in agriculture or aquaculture. A crop is usually expanded to include macroscopic fungus (e.g. mushrooms), or alga (algaculture).
Important non-food crops include horticulture, floriculture and industrial crops. Horticulture crops include plants used for other crops (e.g. fruit trees). Floriculture crops include bedding plants, houseplants, flowering garden and pot plants, cut cultivated greens, and cut flowers. Industrial crops are produced for clothing (fiber crops), biofuel (energy crops, algae fuel), or medicine (medicinal plants).
Animals and microbes (fungi, bacteria or viruses) are rarely referred to as crops. Animals raised for human or animal consumption are referred to as livestock and microbes as microbiological cultures. Microbes are not typically grown for food itself, but are rather used to alter food (e.g., producing citric acid, fermenting yogurt, soy sauce, or sauerkraut).
Important food crops
The importance of a crop varies greatly by region. Globally, the following crops contribute most to human food supply (values of kcal/person/day for 2013 given in parentheses): Rice (541 kcal), wheat (527 kcal), sugarcane and other sugar crops (200 kcal), maize (corn) (147 kcal), soybean oil (82 kcal), other vegetables (74 kcal), potatoes (64 kcal), palm oil (52 kcal), cassava (37 kcal), legume pulses (37 kcal), sunflowerseed oil (35 kcal), rape and mustard oil (34 kcal), other fruits, (31 kcal), sorghum (28 kcal), millet (27 kcal), groundnuts (25 kcal), beans (23 kcal), sweet potatoes (22 kcal), bananas (21 kcal), various nuts (16 kcal), soyabeans (14 kcal), cottonseed oil (13 kcal), groundnut oil (13 kcal), yams (13 kcal). Note that many of the globally apparently minor crops are regionally very important. For example in Africa, roots & tubers dominate with 421 kcal/person/day, and sorghum and millet contribute 135 kcal and 90 kcal, respectively.
In terms of produced weight, the following crops are the most important ones (global production in thousand metric tonnes):
- General topics and economics
- Food crops
- Horticulture crops
- Floriculture crops
- Industrial crops
- Management practices
- Genetic diversity
- Sleper, David A.; Poehlman, John M. (2006). Breeding Field Crops. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 9780813824284. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
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