Food Production


Weeds: Unwanted plants which grow in the field are called weeds, e.g. Xanthium (gokhroo), Parthenium (gajar ghas), Cyperinus rotundus (motha). They compete with crops for various resources; like sunlight, water and nutrients. Thus, weeds hamper the growth of crops. Some weeds are poisonous and can harm cattle and humans. Hence, timely removal of weeds is necessary for better growth of crops. Removal of weeds is called weeding. This is generally done manually; by using sickles. Sometimes, weedicides are also used.

Pests Any organism which is detrimental to humans or human concerns is called a pest. Many pests harm the plants. They do so in three ways:

  1. They cut the root, stem and leaf
  2. They suck the cell sap from various parts of plant
  3. They bore into stem and fruits.

Diseases: Many bacteria, fungi and viruses cause diseases in plants. The pathogens are generally present in soil, water and air and get transmitted through them.

Plant protection management involves use of weedicides, pesticides and fungicides as per the need. These chemicals should be handled with care because they are highly poisonous.


Storage of farm produce is as important as farm yield. Improper storage can result in huge losses. Insects, rodents, fungi, mites and bacteria damage the grains and other farm produce. Excess moisture and improper temperature may also damage the farm produce. If grains are not stored properly, they may lose on quality and germinability. Grains are usually dried in the sun before being stored. They are stored in silos which are made from bamboo or from steel. Fruits and vegetables need to be stored in cold-storage. Treatment with suitable materials is also required to prolong the shelf-life of grains, and fruits and vegetables.

Animal Husbandry

The branch of agriculture which is concerned with animals which are raised for meat, fiber, milk, eggs and other products, is called animal husbandry. Animal husbandry includes cattle farming, poultry farming, fish production, apiculture (bee keeping), etc.


Cattle are bred and reared for three purposes, i.e. milk, drought labour and meat. In India, cow (Bos indicus) and buffalo (Bos bubalis) are reared for milk and drought labour. Goat is reared for milk and meat. Sheep and goat are reared for wool.

Milch Animals: Milk-producing females are called milch animals, e.g. cow and buffalo.

Drought Animals: Animals which are used for farm work are called drought animals.

Lactation Period: The duration for which a milch animal produces milk is called lactation period. Lactation period of indigenous species is quite short. But it is longer in exotic species; like Jersey and Brown Swiss.

Humane farming of cattle:

It involves the following:

Food Requirements of Dairy Animals:

  1. Maintenance Requirement: Food which is required to support a healthy life for animal comes under this category. Roughage comes under this category. Protein-rich food also comes under this category.
  2. Milk Producing Requirement: Food which is required during the lactation period comes under this category. Some feed additives which contain micronutrients come under this category.

Parasites: Many external and internal parasites often attack the animal. External parasites live on the body of the animal, while internal parasites live inside the body. Internal parasites may hamper digestive process and may damage the liver.

Infectious Diseases: Animals also suffer from many infectious diseases caused by bacteria, virus or fungi. Suitable medicines need to be given to the animals in case of infectious diseases. Vaccines are also available against many diseases.


Practice of raising domestic fowl or ducks for eggs and meat is called poultry farming.

Layers: Birds which are raised for egg production. Layers need calcium rich ration.

Broilers: Birds which are raised for meat production. Broilers need protein rich diet; with adequate fat.

Desirable traits in poultry:

Diseases in poultry: Many bacteria, fungi and viruses cause disease in poultry. Proper cleaning, sanitation and spraying of disinfectants are necessary to prevent diseases in poultry. Vaccination is also required to maintain healthy poultry.


Capture Fishing: When fish is captured from natural reservoirs, it is called capture fishing.

Fish Farming: When fish is artificially bred and raised in water reservoirs, it is called fish farming.

Marine Fisheries: India is naturally endowed with a long coastline and hence has plenty of marine fish. Pomphret, mackerel, tuna, sardine, etc. are the popular varieties of marine fish. Fishing nets and fishing boats are used for catching marine fish. Data from satellites and echo-sounders are often utilized to improve the catch.

Inland Fisheries: Inland reservoirs for fish include freshwater resources and brackish water resources. However, capture fishing does not give high yield in these reservoirs. Hence, fish farming is practiced in these reservoirs.

Composite Fish Culture System

In this system, a combination of five or six fish species is used in a single pond. The fish; selected in this system belong show different food habits. This ensures no competition for food and ensures better yield. For example; catla (surface feeder), rohu (middle zone feeder), and mrigal and carps (bottom feeders) are suitable for composite fish culture because they can utilize all the food in the pond; without competing with each other.

Problems in composite fish culture:Problems in composite fish culture: Many fish breed only during monsoon. This results in lack of availability of good quality seeds. Now-a-days, hormonal stimulation is being utilized to procure good quality seeds of fish for composite culture.


The practice of rearing honey bees for production of honey and wax is called apiculture or bee keeping. It involves minimum investment and can be an ideal source of supplementary income for farmers. Apis cerana (Indian bee), A. dorsata (rock bee) and A. florae (little bee) are local varieties of honey bee. A. mellifera is the Italian variety of bee. The Italian variety gives better production of honey and stings somewhat less. The quality of honey depends upon the pasturage, i.e. flowers available for nectar and pollen collection.

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