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Improvement in Crop Yields


Cereals such as wheat, rice, maize, millets and sorghum provide us carbohydrate for energy requirement. Pulses like gram (chana), pea (matar), black gram (urad), green gram (moong), pigeon pea (arhar), lentil (masoor), provide us with protein. And oil seeds including soyabean, ground nut, sesame, castor, mustard, linseed and sunflower provide us with necessary fats. Vegetables, spices and fruits provide a range of vitamins and minerals in addition to small amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. In addition to these food crops, fodder crops like berseem, oats or sudan grass are raised as food for the livestock.

Different crops require different climatic conditions, temperatures and photoperiods for their growth and completion of their life cycle. Photoperiods are related to the duration of sunlight. Growth of plants and flowering are dependent on sunlight. As we all know, plants manufacture their food in sunlight by the process of photosynthesis.

There are some crops, which are grown in rainy season, called the kharif season from the month of June to October, and some of the crops are grown in the winter season, called the rabi season from November to April. Paddy, soyabean, pigeon pea, maize, cotton, green gram and black gram are kharif crops, whereas wheat, gram, peas, mustard and linseed are rabi crops. In India there has been a four times increase in the production of food grains from 1960 to 2004 with only 25% increase in the cultivable land area. How has this increase in production been achieved? If we think of the practices involved in farming, we can see that we can divide it into three stages. The first is the choice of seeds for planting. The second is the nurturing of the crop plants.

The third is the protection of the growing and harvested crops from loss. Thus, the major groups of activities for improving crop yields can be classified as follows:

(i) Crop variety improvement

(ii) Crop production improvement

(iii) Crop protection management


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