Factors Affecting Crop Production
Crop production is concerned with the exploitation of plant morphological (or structural) and plant physiological (or functional) responses with a soil & atmospheric environment to produce a high yield per unit area of land. Growth is irreversible increase in size or weight.
Crop production provides the food for human beings, fodder for animals and fiber for cloths. Land is the natural resource which is unchanged & the burden of the population is tremendously increasing, thereby decrease the area per capita. Therefore it is necessary to increase the production per unit area on available land. This necessitates the close study of all the factors of crop production viz.
1. The soil in which crops are grown
2. The water which is the life of plant
3. The Plant which gives food to man & fodder to his animals
4. The skilful management by the farmer himself
5. The climate which is out of control of man & but decided the growth, development & production.
6. The genetic characters of crop plant which is the genetic makeup & can be exploited for crop production. Broadly, the factors that influence the growth of crop or crop production can be classified as:
Internal or Genetic Factors Genetic makeup decided the crop growth & its production. Crops vary in the genetic makeup which included desirable & undesirable characters as well. Breeders try to incorporate maximum desirable characters in one strain of crop & also try to exploit the hybrid vigour.
Desirable characters include:
1. High yielding ability under given environment condition.
2. Early maturity
3. Better resistance to lodging
4. Drought, flood & salinity tolerance
5. Greater tolerance to insect & diseases
6. Chemical composition of grains (Oil & Proteins)
7. Quality of grains (Fineness coarseness etc.)
8. Quality of straw (Sweetness juiciness)
These characters are inherent in each individual and are transmitted from one generation to another by genes.
External or Environmental Factors
1. Edaphic or Soil Factors
3. Plant Biotic Factor
4. Anthropic or Management
Edaphic or Soil factors:
Soil can be defined as: Soil is a thin layer of the earth’s crust which serves as a natural medium for the growth of plants. Soils are formed by the disintegrations & decomposition of parent rocks due to weathering and the action of soil organisms & also the interaction of various chemical substances present in the soil. Soil is formed from parent rock by the process of weathering over a long period by the action of rain water, temperature and plant & animal residues. A vertical cut of 1.5 to 2 m deep soil indicates a layer varying from a few cm to about 30 cm of soil, called surface soil, elbow that a layer of sub soil & at the bottom, the unrecompensed material which is the parent rock.
Role of soil:
1. Soil is the natural media to grow the crop.
2. Soil gives the mechanical support & act as an anchor,
3. Soil supplies the nutrients to the crop plants,
4. Soil conserves the moisture which is supplies to the crop plants
5. Soil is an abode (house) of millions of living organisms which act on plant residues & release food material to plants
6. Soil provides aeration for growth of crop and decomposition of organic matter.
Functions of water:
1. Major component of the plant body (90%).
2. Act as solvent for dissolving the nutrients & nutrient carrier.
3. Maintains/regulates the temperature of plant & soil as well
4. Maintains the turgidity of plant cells.
5. Essential for absorption of nutrients & metabolic process of the plants.
Plant tissues constitute about 90% of water. Rain and ground water are the sources of the water. Ground H2O is reused for irrigation through well, tank or canal, etc. Erratic rains are to be conserved properly so that plants make best use of it. Rainwater is to be supplemented by irrigation to meet the water requirement of crops for bumper yields.
Water Present in the soil helps the plants in many ways:
1. Supplies the essential raw material for production of carbohydrates by photosynthesis.
2. Promotes physical, chemical & biological activities in the soil.
3. Gaseous diffusion in soil for proper aeration.
Water is the life of plant & must be supplied in proper quantity. Too much water may suffocate the plant roots & too little may not be able to sustain the plant. The water requirement of crops differs from crop to crop & variety to variety as well, depending upon the growth habit, genetically & physiological make up, duration of the crop, etc. For example, sugarcane, rice, banana, wheat, groundnut, etc. are the high water requiring crops & Jowar, Mung, udid, Tur, gram, bajara etc. are the low water requiring crops.
Plant /Biotic factors:
Biotic factors include plant, symbiosis & animals.
Plant: The soil & water are two variables which either has to be suitably adjusted for the plant to grow or the plant should be so bred & selected that it will adjust to a given soil & water condition, growing season, climatic requirement, etc. Some of the crops grow on only rain while some required irrigation water, Plant breeders are constantly at work to evolve varieties which will suit the given soil & water condition e.g. drought resistant, disease resistant, more nutrients absorbing capacity etc.
The unwanted plants, ‘weeds’ compete with crop plants from solar energy, water nutrients & also for space which need to be controlled for better crop growth & production at proper time & methods.
Symbiosis: There are the some organisms which have mutual relationship with each other & with the prevailing environment of the place. This biological inter relationship among the organisms is termed as symbiosis. The symbiotic relationship between legumes & Rhizobia which results in ‘N’ fixation is of great significance to crop production. The legume bacteria use the carbohydrates of their host as energy & fixes up atmospheric ’N’ which in turn used by host plants. The free living organisms (Azotobacter) acquire their energy from soil OM, fix the free N & make it a part of their own tissue. When they die the ‘N’ available in their body tissues is used by the crop plants.
Animals: Soil organisms:
The soil organisms include:
1) Soil flora (plant kingdom) &
2) soil fauna (animal Kingdom).
Soil flora is of two types:
i) Macro flora e.g. Roots of higher plants
ii) Micro flora e.g. Bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes & algae.
Soil fauna is of two types:
i) Macro flora e.g. earthworm, moles, ants, and
ii) Micro fauna e.g. protozoa, nematodes. The soil fauna including protozoa, nematodes, rotifers, snails, insects constitute a highly important part of the environment for plant roots. All these organisms contribute decomposition, when using the OM for their living. Among these insects, nematodes cause considerable damage as crop pests.
Insects like bees, wasp, moths, butterflies, beetles help in pollination of crops. Burrowing by earthworm facilitates aeration & drainage and the ingestion of OM & mineral matter results in a constant mixing of these materials in the soil & tends to make better plant growth.
Small animals: Like rabbits, squirrels, rats cause extensive damage to field & garden crops.
Anthropic or Management /Man or skilful management by the man:
Finally, man must so manage the soil-water-plant complex to produce efficiently food & fodder and for that purpose a number of mechanical devices & useful cultivation practices have been evolved such as ploughs for ploughing, harrows for seeded preparation, hoes for hoeing, seed cum fertilizer driller for sowing the seeds & application of fertilizers. Man has to perform the operations at proper time such as land preparation sowing, thinning & gap filling and also the plant protection measures, optimum plant population, recommended fertilizer application at right time & depth, proper water mgmt. Practices. The soil, water, plant& management are the four factors, which govern successful crop production.
Climate: Another factor that influences the growth, development, & production of crop is the climate which is out of control by the man but mgt. practices of the crops can be altered to harvest maximum yield. Climate is the most dominating factor influencing the suitability of a crop to a particular region. The yield potential of a crop mainly depends on climate. More than 50% of variation in yield of crops is solar radiation, temperature & rainfall Relative humidity & wind velocity also influence crop growth to some extent. Atmospheric factors which affect the crop plants are called climatic factors which include.
3. Atmospheric humidity,
4. Solar radiation,
5. Wind velocity and atmospheric gases.
1. Precipitation: – It results from evaporation of water from sea water and land surfaces. The process involved in the transfer of moisture from the sea to the land & back to the sea again what is known as the hydrologic cycle. Continuous circulation of water between hydrosphere, atmosphere & lithosphere called as hydrologic cycle. Precipitation includes rainfall, snow or hail, Fog drip & dew also contribute to moisture. Fog consists of small water droplets while dew is the condensation of the water vapour present in the air. Precipitation influences the vegetation of a place. Most of crops receive their water supply from rainwater which is the source of soil moisture so essential for the life of a plant. The yearly precipitation, both in total amount & seasonal distribution greatly affects the choice of cultivated crops of a place.
2. Temperature: It is considered as a measure of intensity of heat energy. The range of maximum growth for most argil, plans is between 15 & 400C, every plant community has its own minimum, optimum & maximum temperature known as their cardinal points. Temperature is determined by the distance from the equator (latitude) and the altitude; Apart from the reduction in yield many injuries such as cold injury which included chilling injury, freezing injury, suffocation & heaving and heat injury. Maize & sorghum (8-100C, 300C, 40ºC) Rice (10-110C, 35ºC) Wheat (50C, 25ºC, 30º-320C)
3. Atmospheric humidity: Water which is present in the atmosphere in the form of invisible water vapor, termed as humidity of the air, ET of crop plants increases with the temperature but decreases with high relative humidity affecting the quantity of irrigation water, Moist air favours the growth of many fungi & bacteria which affect seriously the crop.
4. Solar radiation: Solar energy provides two essential needs of plants:
a) Light required for photosynthesis & for many other functions of the plant including seed germination, leaf expansion, growth of stem & shoot, and flowering, fruiting & even dormancy.
b) Thermal conditions required for the normal physiological functions of the plant. Light helps in synthesis of chlorophyll pigment. Light affects the plants in four ways: intensity, quality (wave length), duration (Photoperiod) and direction.
5. Wind velocity: It affects growth mechanically (damage to crop) and physiologically (evaporation & transpiration), Hot dry winds may adversely affect photosynthesis & hence productivity, by causing closure of the stomata even when soil moisture is adequate. Moderate winds have a beneficial effect on photosynthesis by continuously replacing the CO2 absorbed by the leaf surfaces.
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