Agriculture is derived from Latin words Ager and Cultura. Ager means land or field and Cultura means cultivation.
♦Agriculture means cultivation of land. i.e., the science and art of producing crops and livestock for economic purposes.
♦ It is also referred as the science of producing crops and livestock from the natural resources of the earth.
Agriculture is defined as the art, the science and the business of producing crops and the livestock for economic purposes.
As an art, it embraces knowledge of the way to perform the operations of the farm in a skillful manner. The skill is categorized as;
Physical skill: It involves the ability and capacity to carry out the operation in an efficient way for e.g., handling of farm implements, animals etc., sowing of seeds, fertilizer and pesticides application etc.
Mental skill: The farmer is able to take a decision based on experience, such as
(i) time and method of ploughing,
(ii) selection of crop and cropping system to suit soil and climate,
(iii) adopting improved farm practices etc.
As a science : It utilizes all modern technologies developed on scientific principles such as crop improvement/breeding, crop production, crop protection, economics etc., to maximize the yield and profit. For example, new crops and varieties developed by hybridization, transgenic crop varieties resistant to pests and diseases, hybrids in each crop, high fertilizer responsive varieties, water management, herbicides to control weeds, use of bio-control agents to combat pest and diseases etc.
As the business : As long as agriculture is the way of life of the rural population, production is ultimately bound to consumption. But agriculture as a business aims at maximum net return through the management of land, labour, water and capital, employing the knowledge of various sciences for production of food, feed, fibre and fuel.
BRANCHES OF AGRICULTURE
Agriculture has 3 main spheres viz., Geoponic (Cultivation in earth-soil), Aeroponic (cultivation in air) and Hydroponic (cultivation in water). Agriculture is the branch of science encompassing the applied aspects of basic sciences. The applied aspects of agricultural science consists of study of field crops and their management (Arviculture) including soil management.
Crop production – It deals with the production of various crops, which includes food crops, fodder crops, fibre crops, sugar, oil seeds, etc. It includes agronomy, soil science, entomology, pathology, microbiology, etc. The aim is to have better food production and how to control the diseases.
Horticulture – Branch of agriculture deals with the production of flowers, fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, spices, condiments (includes narcotic crops-opium, etc., which has medicinal value) and beverages.
Agricultural Engineering – It is an important component for crop production and horticulture particularly to provide tools and implements. It is aiming to produce modified tools to facilitate proper animal husbandry and crop production tools, implements and machinery in animal production.
Forestry – It deals with production of large scale cultivation of perennial trees for supplying wood, timber, rubber, etc. and also raw materials for industries.
Animal Husbandry – The animals being produced, maintained, etc. Maintenance of various types of livestock for direct energy (work energy). Husbandry is common for both crop and animals. The objective is to get maximum output by feeding, rearing, etc. The arrangement of crops is done to get minimum requirement of light or air. This arrangement is called geometry. Husbandry is for direct and indirect energy.
Fishery Science – It is for marine fish and inland fishes including shrimps and prawns.
Home Science – Application and utilization of agricultural produces in a better manner. When utilization is enhanced production is also enhanced. e.g., a crop once in use in south was found that it had many uses now