Inputs of agriculture
Seed is technically defined as ripened ovule containing embryo. Another definition says that the seed is a living embryo which is vital and basic input for attaining sustained growth in agricultural production in different agro-climatic conditions. The embryo in the seed remains almost suspended for sometimes and then revives to new development. Seed is the symbol of beginning in scientific agriculture, seed is the basic input and the most important catalyst for other inputs to be cost effective. For ensuring sustainability the seed supports high productivity, enhancing profitability, creating bio-diversity at a reasonable level and gives environmental protection. Thus the seed plays a vital and remarkable role in agriculture.
In the traditional agriculture nutrient supply to plants was from the organic sources except a few fertilizers like sodium nitrate, (NaNO3, or ammonium sulphate (NH4SO4) was used which were used by progressive fanners otherwise farm yard manure, compost and oilcakes like neem were applied to soil.
These organic manures supplied a smaller percentage of major nutrients to plant as well as micro-nutrients but there were other ancillary advantages.These organic manures improved the soil fertility in an indirect manner by improving the physical and biological properties of soil like the water holding capacity of soil increased in direct proportion of the supply of OM (organic matter), by the improvement in soil colour the heat absorbing capacity increased, the OM made the soil more pours by improving the soil structure resulting in proper aeration. In addition the population of beneficial microorganism increased which readily released the nutrient for the plant intake.
With the development of scientific agriculture and introduction of modern technology the importance of chemical fertilizer increased. Mere application of organic matter does not fulfill the nutrient requirements of the crop and therefore has to be made up through the application of fertilizers. The crops and their varieties vary in the nutrient requirement and to reap the benefits of the full potential a balanced application of plant nutrient is a must. The three major elements are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash known as NPK. There is a certain proportion in which these elements are required by the plants.
The fertilizers currently used are urea, di- ammonium-phosphate, mutate of potash, ammonium sulphate, sodium nitrate etc. These fertilizers have different composition in terms of the three elements. As per recommendation of scientists a calculation is made depending on the source of OM and fertilizer and it is calculated as to how much quantity of these OM and fertilizer be mixed for the basal or later applications.
Since these fertilizers become an essential part of the modern farming these should be available to the farmers in each season in the quantity required at the reasonable cost and at the time needed.
The ideal utilization of fertilizer could only be possible when proper marketing of this important input is undertaken. It is, therefore, important to predict the demand for fertilizers with reasonable accuracy at the national and regional levels.
The world is entering in the twenty-first century so that every sector of the economy should prepare itself to face the challenges of the coming century. There will be need to produce more than what is being produced and there would be greater demand for food, fiber and other commodities. The land area is limited and moreover from the already scarce cultivated or cultivable area the land shall be coming under the agricultural uses like housing, entertainment etc. With the technological development more power will be needed to fulfill the growing demand.
Power is much sought for right from land preparation till marketing. There is a shortage of power in India specially electrical power. Despite of the fact that there is a lot of stress on rural electrification but it sounds like hypocrisy the power supply is so erratic that there would be load shedding, break downs, power stealing which goes uncared for causing a lot of misery to the power consumers.
Implements and Machinery
There are a variety of implements used in the modern scientific agriculture but the most basic implements used in Indian agriculture are: Khurpi, sickle, spade, pickage, desi plough, patella and other local models are—local, models of hoes, harrows, cultivators, seed drill (malabasa) etc. Efforts toward developing better implements started in 1900 by L.K. Kirloskar in his firm the manufacturing of agricultural implement and machinery started.
Mould board ploughs became very popular in India. At the Allahabad Agricultural Institute under the guidance of Prof. Mason Waugh Wahwah plough and cultivators and Shabash plough and cultivators were manufactured besides hand implements like hoe and rake which were very convenient to operate and least tiring were manufactured.
Irrigation is the artificial application of water to crops. In the rainy season if the spread of rainfall is evenly distributed and rains in the right intensity the crops are raised as rainfed crops, if the rainfall is erratic and insufficient then supplemental irrigation is needed. In the Rabi season, during the period of receding monsoon irrigation is needed which depends on the nature of the crop and its requirement.
During this period the crop production is highly successful if assured irrigation is in existence. Therefore, irrigation is as much a basic infrastructure in the development efforts as roads, market facilities, credit agencies and other rural structures are.
Agricultural development in India heavily depends on the availability of irrigation. However, water for irrigation appears to be potentially in short supply in the country but according to R.K. Sivaappa, “India is endowed with abundant water resources. The average precipitation (1250 mm over 328 million hectares) is about 400 MHM. Annual water resources in basins are estimated about 187 MHM. Due to tropical climate. India experiences spatial and temporal variations in the precipitation. About one-third area in the country is drought prone. There is a vast variation in the average per capita availability of water. Of the available water resources of 187 MHM about 69 MHM of the surface and 45 MHM of ground water is available through conventional structures. The present utilization is 60 MHM which is likely to go up to 105-110 MHM by 2010-2020 AD. But many areas like Tamil Nadu, are facing water shortages. At the same time certain regions have surplus due to large water resources potentials.”