Crop Variety Improvement
All living things and organisms require food as one of their basic needs. Different nutrients, including lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins, are provided through food. Agriculture and animal husbandry are the two primary sources of food. Despite having a strong agricultural orientation, India nonetheless struggles with a food shortage because of its growing population. There are numerous strategies to stop the shortage of food for humans. Increasing production effectiveness is one. The second is giving everyone who lives in food deserts access to food, and thirdly, people need to have the money to buy food.
Variety of Crops
In India, a broad variety of different sorts of crops are produced. In India, cereals, pulses, oil seeds, and vegetables are the main crops farmed. We get carbohydrates from the cereals: millet, rice, wheat, sorghum, and maize. The proteins come from the pulses, which include lentils, gramme, pigeon pea, black gramme, pea, and green gramme. We get our fats from oil seeds like mustard, linseed, castor, sunflower, ground nut, soybean, and sesame. We get vitamins and minerals from fruits, vegetables, and spices.
Factors that influence Crop Production
Understanding how crops grow and develop is just one of the many variables that go into successful crop production.
- How different nutrients, the environment, and water affect plant growth.
- Changing and controlling each factor to raise the crop’s yield.
- Kharif crops are those that are grown during the rainy season (the Kharif season, which runs from June to October). Examples of Kharif crops include paddy, soybean, pigeon pea, maize, cotton, green gramme, and black gramme.
- Rabi crops are those that are raised during the winter growing season (the rabi season, which lasts from November to April). Examples of rabi crops include wheat grain, peas, mustard, and linseed.
Crop variety enhancement can be accomplished by hybridization or gene introduction.
- Crop enhancement through Hybridization: Hybridization is the act of breeding plants with different genetic compositions. This hybridization could be interspecific (between two different species of the same genus), intervarietal (between different variations), or intergeneric (between different genera).
- Crop enhancement through the Introduction of a Gene: This confers the desired traits and produces genetically modified crops. Weather, soil quality, and water availability all affect crop output and cultivation techniques. The variety that may be grown in many climatic circumstances is crucial since weather conditions like drought and flood scenarios are unpredictable.
Factors that influence Variety Improvement
- A higher yield: To raise crop productivity per acre.
- Better quality: Different crops produce different crop products with varying quality. For instance, the protein quality of pulses, the oil quality of oilseeds, and the fruit and vegetable preservation quality are all crucial.
- Biotic and abiotic resistance: Abiotic factors such as drought, salinity, water logging, heat, cold, and frost have an impact on crop productivity. Biotic factors include diseases, insects, and nematodes. To increase crop yield, it is possible to enhance strains that are resistant to certain elements (or stressors).
- Modification in crop maturity duration: Crops with shorter maturation times are more economically viable since they require less labour to produce. The harvesting process is made simple and losses are decreased by uniform ripeness.
Soil, water, and air all provide nutrients to plants. Plants require sixteen nutrients in order to survive. Carbon and oxygen are provided by the air; hydrogen is obtained from water, and the remaining thirteen nutrients are provided by the soil. Six of these thirteen nutrients known as macronutrients—are needed in significant amounts. The remaining seven nutrients are referred to as micronutrients since they are only required in trace amounts by plants.
Nutrients provided by the soil, water, and air
- Air: Carbon, oxygen
- Water: Hydrogen, oxygen
- Soil: Nutrients from soil can be divided into two categories i.e.,
- Macro-nutrients: Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and sulphur.
- Micro-nutrients: Iron, manganese, boron, zinc, copper, molybdenum and chlorine.
Nutrients from other sources
- Compost: It can be made from farm waste materials including livestock excrement (such as cow dung), vegetable waste, animal waste, home garbage, sewage waste, straw, and weeds that have been pulled up, among other things. This material is broken down into pits, and the process is known as composting. This compost is nutrient- and organic-rich.
- Vermicompost: Redworms are used to break down plant and animal waste into compost, which is known as vermicompost.
- Fertilizers: Fertilizers are synthetic plant nutrients made for commercial purposes. Fertilizers provide potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. In order to produce healthy plants, they are employed to ensure optimal vegetative growth (leaves, branches, and flowers).
In other terms, crop improvement refers to techniques for creating and breeding crop varieties that are superior to the characteristics of the current types. Modern crop modification techniques become necessary due to the world’s constantly growing population in order to boost output and preserve the quality of food crops. Man has learned that particular crop plants are helpful to him and that if he could sow viable seeds and adopt cultural techniques, he would be able to produce the amount and quality of food required for human consumption and industrial needs. The primary goal of crop improvement is this. Plant breeders that are active in enhancing plants frequently have specific objectives in mind while they work. They attempt to replace unwanted traits in plants with desirable ones in order to increase yields while improving quality.
Therefore, the objectives of crop improvement include:
- Crop improvement aims to boost yield because these specially produced crop types by breeders can produce a lot of crops on a given amount of land. This amount is expressed in kg/ha, for example, a high-yield tomato plant can produce up to 800 kg/ha of tomatoes.
- Crop improvement’s main goal is to raise the standard of farm products because higher standards increase their value and utility. Crops’ flavour, colour, size, nutritional value, and fibre content can all be enhanced by plant breeders.
- Crop improvement’s goal is to satisfy producers’ needs. Certain traits of plants may become more desirable to producers as a result of advancements in farming techniques. For instance, rather than towering varieties of maize that can only be harvested by hand, many growers would prefer short varieties that can be gathered by machines.
- Crop improvement’s goal is to satisfy the demands of consumers (processors or business owners): Food processors and other consumers’ needs put pressure on manufacturers to build new, higher-quality operations. For instance, higher-quality agricultural products, such as maize with high protein content, will improve people’s health.
Crop protection management
Plant diseases, weeds, and other pests (both vertebrate and invertebrate) that harm crops and forests are managed through the research and practice of crop protection. Field crops (such as maize, wheat, and rice), vegetable crops (such as potatoes and cabbage), and fruits are all considered to be crops. The crops in the field are subject to a variety of influences. Insects, birds, rodents, germs, etc. may harm crop plants. Protecting crops includes:
Every practical facet of disease, weed, and pest management, including the following subjects:
- Control of animal crop pests worldwide.
- Control of microbially induced crop plant diseases.
- Weed management is integrated.
- Monetary considerations.
The performance of a crop depends on proper nutrition. Through the effective use of resources, studies aim to maximize productivity and profitability. Some specific research themes include:
- Measuring and keeping track of crop nutrient levels and soil nutrient supply.
- Identification of treatment-relevant critical levels or thresholds.
- Determining how a crop’s productivity and quality response to the amount, timing, and application of fertilizer.
- Strategies for managing nutrients and fertilizers to maximise crop growth, production, and quality.
- Evaluation and application of crop nutrient treatments or fertilizer products.
FAQs on Crop Variety Importance
Question 1: What is crop variety improvement?
Increasing the quality of the crops by adding the desired characters in it through hybridisation and other methods so that the yield and quality can be increased is known as crop variety improvement. Nowadays this method is widely used in many crops. This experiment is quite useful in increasing the quality of crops along with the production of crops.
Question 2: How could crop diversity be increased?
Firstly, it is the need for time to bring diversity to crops. With modern technologies and machines, this process gets easier. A simple method to increase crop diversity is hybridising the same crops with different genes. By hybridisation, the genetic make-up of any crop will get changed due to which the diversity of the crops will be increased.
Question 3: Why is varietal improvement necessary?
A major necessity for the improvement of variety is to increase the quality of the crops in terms of minerals and other important components by which we can get more nutrition by having these hybridized crops. In the crops nowadays the nutrition content has been decreased due to which this concept came into research and indeed it is proving to be a very important and successful concept so far.
Question 4: What are the nutrients provided by the soil, water, and air?
There are different nutrients which are provided by nature like we get carbon and oxygen from air and water gives us oxygen and hydrogen. Soil is the treasure of nutrients from where we get two different types of nutrients one is macronutrients which are Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and sulphur and the other is micronutrients which include Iron, manganese, boron, zinc, copper, molybdenum and chlorine.
Question 5: What is hybridization?
The process by which the variety of crops is changed by the cross between parents with different genetic material is called hybridization. This is a well-known process through which the diversity of the crops is increased and through this process, the quality of crops is also increased.
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