The science of farming is called agriculture. Farming includes cultivation of plants and rearing of animals for food and other beneficial items (like wool, cotton, beverages, etc.) is called agriculture. Agriculture is the main occupation of majority of people in India. Due to this, most of the people in India live in rural areas.
Crop: When plants of the same kind are grown and cultivated at one place on a large scale commercially, they are called a crop.
India is a vast country where diverse practices of farming are seen in different parts. But crops in India can be divided into two main types, which are as follows:
Kharif: Kharif crops are grown in the rainy season, i.e. during monsoon. Kharif crops are usually sown in June and harvested in September. Kharif crop needs high temperature and plenty of rainfall to grow properly. Paddy, maize, soyabean, groundnut and cotton are examples of kharif crop. Paddy is the main kharif crop in India.
Rabi: Rabi crops are grown in winter season. Rabi crops are sown in October and harvested in March. Rabi crop needs mild temperature and moderate water to grow properly. Wheat, gram, mustard, pea and linseed are examples of rabi crop. Wheat is the main rabi crop in India.
Various tasks, which a farmer needs to do during cultivation of crops are collectively called agricultural practices. Activities which are part of agricultural practices are as follows:
The first step of cultivation is preparation of soil. This is done by loosening and turning the soil. A plough is used for this purpose. If the soil becomes too hard then farmer may resort to watering the soil before ploughing.
Traditionally, animal-drawn ploughs have been used by farmers. Now-a-days, tractor-drawn ploughs are used for this purpose. A tractor helps in saving time and labour.
The soil may contain many big lumps even after ploughing. The lumps are broken with the help of a hoe. Sometimes the farmer may add manure before ploughing; in order to properly mix the manure with soil.
Plough: A plough is composed of ploughshare and ploughshaft. The ploughshare is made of iron and is triangular in shape. The ploughshaft is made of wood and is very long. It is harnessed to a pair of bullocks or other cattle with the help of a beam which remains perpendicular to the ploughshaft.
Hoe: The hoe is used for leveling the soil and for removing weeds. It is made of iron or wood. It is a long beam with a handle. Sometimes a heavy and flat beam of wood is utilized as a hoe. In the iron hoe; a sharp blade is fixed on one end. A hoe is usually pulled by animals but sometimes it is pulled by tractor as well.
Cultivator: A cultivator is composed of a series of iron discs or ploughshare which are fitted on an iron frame. Cultivator is pulled by tractor. Cultivator helps in tilling a large area in less time. It is ideal for big-size farm.
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