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INTRODUCTION TO AGRICULTURE.

INTRODUCTION TO AGRICULTURE.

INTRODUCTION TO AGRICULTURE.The term agriculture is derived from two Latin words

Ager:meaning field  Cultura:field cultivation.

Therefore:

  • Agriculture is an art and science of crop and livestock production.

AGRICULTURE AS AN ART ENTAILS:

  • Tilling of land.
  • Construction of farm structures.
  • Harvesting of crops.
  • Measuring of distance.
  • Machine operations.
  • Feeding and handling of animals.
  • Marketing of agricultural produce.

AGRICULTURE AS A SCIENCE. 

  • Crop pathology. Study of crop diseases.
  • The study of insects and their control.
  • Agricultural engineering. g. soil and water conservation and farm machinery.
  • SOIL science. Study of soils.

Production. All activities that increases quality and quantity. E.g. Land preparation, planting, fertiliser application.

In animal, production includes; selection and breeding, parasites and diseases control.

BRANCHES OF AGRICULTURE.  

Major branches are:

  • Crop production.
  • Livestock production.
  • Soil science.
  • Agricultural economics.
  • Agricultural engineering.

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INTRODUCTION TO AGRICULTURE.

1) CROP FARMING (ARABLE FARMING) 

Arable farming is production of crops on cultivated land (monocropping/pure stands and mixed stands/intercropping)

Field crops.

Crops grown in fairly large area of land.   Include annuals such as pulses and Cereals or perennial.

Horticultural crops.

These are perishable crops.

Entails:

  • Growing of flowers such as roses, carnations, lilies, chrysanthemums tuberose etc.
  • Growing of vegetables such as cabbages, tomatoes, onions and French beans.
  • Growing of fruits such as Avocados, piers and citrus.

2) Livestock farming. 

Pastoralism (mammalian livestock farming)

Pastoralism. Practice of rearing farm animals on pastures.  Includes animals such as cattle, goats and sheep.

Fish farming/aquaculture.  

Rearing of fish and other aquatic animals in fish ponds.

INTRODUCTION TO AGRICULTURE.

Apiculture

Rearing of Bees in structures called beehives.

Poultry keeping.

Poultry are birds kept for production of eggs and meat.

Agricultural economics.

Branch of agriculture that deals with utilisation of scarce resources.  Aims at maximising output while minimising cost.

Agricultural engineering.

Deals with use and maintenance of farm tools, machinery and structures.

                      Farming systems. 

Organisation of the farm and all the enterprises in relationships to each other.

Extensive system. 

Characteristics. 

  • Requires large tract of land.
  • Low capital investment.
  • Low labour per unit area. S Low yields per unit area.

Intensive system. 

Characteristics. 

  • Requires high capital and labour investment per unit area. High yields per unit area.

Large scale farming. 

  • Involves use of large tracks of land.
  • Requires heavy capital investment and skilled labour.
  • Requires high level of management
  • Operation cost per unit area of production is low.

Includes:

Plantation farming and ranching

Plantation farming.

Growing of one type of crop in a large area

Ranching

Keeping of beef animals in marginal areas.

The livestock carrying capacity is low due to limited pastures.

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INTRODUCTION TO AGRICULTURE.

Small scale farming. 

Farming carried out on a small area of land less than five hectares.

Advantages. 

  • Requires low capital investment.
  • Possible where land is a limiting factor.

Disadvantages. 

  • Uneconomical to mechanise due to small size.
  • Low production.
  • Difficult to specialise. S Labour intensive.

Methods of farming. 

A method of farming is an established way of carrying out farming activities. Includes.

  • Mixed farming.
  • Nomadic pastoralism.
  • Shifting cultivation.
  • Organic farming.
  • Agroforestry

Mixed farming.

Entails growing of crops and rearing of animals on the same farm.

Advantages. 

  • Mutual benefit between crops and livestock.
  • Acts as an insurance against total loss by the farmer.
  • Maximum utilisation of resources.  Nomadic pastoralism. 

Pastoralism.  Practice of rearing livestock on pastures.

Nomadic.  Practice of moving from one place to another.

Nomadic pastoralism.  Moving with animals from one place to another in search of pastures and water.

Advantages. 

  • Serves as backbone of beef industry in Kenya.
  • Source of income to pastoral communities.
  • Proper way of utilising arid and semi-arid areas.

Disadvantages. 

  • Encourages spread of livestock pests and diseases due to communal watering points, grazing and spraying points.
  • Tendency of increased soil erosion and land degradation.
  • Difficult to control breeding and breeding diseases.
  • Low production of both meat and milk and hides and skins due to energy losses.
  • Source of conflict and ethnic tension among the Nomadic communities for control of good pastures and water.

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INTRODUCTION TO AGRICULTURE.

Shifting cultivation.

Method of cultivating a piece of land until the soil is exhausted and then the piece is abandoned /left fallow.

Advantages. 

  • Land is allowed to rest and regain its fertility.
  • No build- up of pests and diseases.
  • Soil structure is restored.
  • Cost of production is low since inorganic fertiliser and pesticides are not used.
  • Crop produce is chemical free.

Disadvantages. 

  • Not applicable where land is a limiting factor.
  • Farm planning and acquisition of credit is not possible.
  • Lack of soil conservation measures.
  • Not possible to grow perennial crops.
  • Low output per unit area due to poor farming methods. S Where fire is used to clear land organic matter is lost.

Applicability. 

  • Where land is communally owned.
  • In large tracts of land. Where population is scarce.
  • Where number of livestock per unit area is low.

Organic farming.

Farming method where crops are grown and livestock reared without use of agrochemicals.

Advantages. 

  • Cheap and cost effective.
  • Useful in improving soil structure. S No environmental pollution.

Agroforestry

Practice of integrating trees and crops on the same piece of land.   Trees selected should have the following characteristics:

  • Able to grow fast.
  • Deep rooted to minimise competition for nutrients. S Should be preferably leguminous.

Examples. 

Causurina  equisetifolia

Grevillea    robusta

Sesbania     sesban

Cajanus cajan

Advantages. 

  • Important sources of wood and timber.
  • Maximum utilisation of land.
  • Trees helps to control soil erosion.
  • Some are used as livestock fodder.
  • Leguminous trees add nutrients into the soil thus improving soil fertility.

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INTRODUCTION TO AGRICULTURE.

IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE TO THE ECONOMY. 

  • Source of food.

To meet the nutritional requirements and to enable man to engage in other activities.

  • Employment

Provides direct employment as farm labourers and indirectly e.g. working in agricultural based industries.

  • Source of raw materials.

For industries e.g. cotton lint for textile industry.

  • Source of market.

For industrial goods e.g. farm tools and equipment, pesticides etc.

  • Source of foreign exchange.

Through exporting agricultural produce, the country earns foreign exchange.

  • Source of income.

Farmers as well as the government get revenue from the sale of agricultural produce and tax payment.

INTRODUCTION TO AGRICULTURE.

ALL AGRICULTURENOTES FORM 1-4 WITH TOPICAL QUESTIONS & ANSWERS 

PRIMARY NOTES, SCHEMES OF WORK AND EXAMINATIONS

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