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Genetically modified crops… Is it detriment..?

Organic agriculture involve natural methods such as crop rotation, biological pest control, compost etc. Genetically modified crops are a result of recombinant DNA technology or genetic engineering. Genes of commercial interest are transferred from one organism (also between non-related species) to another. Recombinant DNA technology allows plant breeders to generate superior plant varieties by bringing in useful genes from a wide range of living organisms in one plant. Foreign genes are introduced into plant genomes through two methods. The first is the Gene Gun method wherein DNA to be introduced into the plant cells is coated onto tiny particles, which are then physically shot onto plant cells. Some of the DNA comes off whereas most of the DNA gets incorporated into the genome of recipient plant. The second method uses the bacterium to introduce the gene(s) of interest into the plant DNA. This is commonly referred to as microbial genetics. Genetically modified crops have their genes altered in a way that does not occur naturally by pollination and or natural recombination. The natural process of pollination and or natural recombination falls under the category of genetics. Genetically modified crops are produced and marketed because of their benefits to both the producer and consumer. The potential benefits include higher crop yields, higher durability and nutritional value of the crops, reduced farm costs and increased farm profit. Genetically modified crops include rice enriched with iron, vitamin A, and E, and lysine, potatoes with higher starch content and inulin, allergen-free nuts, healthier oils from soybean and canola and maize with low phytic acid, increased essential amino acids. Such plants also have increased the level of crop protection through increased tolerance towards herbicides or resistance against diseases caused by insects or viruses. The safety assessment of genetically modified foods mostly measures parameters such as toxicity, allergenicity, the stability of the inserted gene, nutritional value and any unintended effects that could result from the gene insertion. The potential risks of genetically modified crops include unintentionally introducing allergens and other anti nutritional factors in foods, toxins affecting non-target organisms, pests evolving resistance to the toxins produced by genetically modified crops, and a likelihood of transgenes escaping from cultivated crops into wild relatives. Gene transfer from genetically modified foods to cells of the bacteria in human gastrointestinal tract would adversely affect human health, which is particularly relevant if antibiotic resistance genes get... read more

Easy Techniques of Increasing Soil Fertility

Crops require soil, water, sun and air to flourish. When we talk about soil, quality trumps quantity. Fertile land includes a healthy mix of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous, along with air, water and soil micro-organisms that are responsible for breaking down organic matter. Today, due to destructive land use practices like deforestation and over-fertilization, soil is losing vital nutrients. Additionally, remember the fact that inorganic fertilizer can never replace original topsoil. So, if you want to know the effective farming tips that can increase soil fertility, read on. Cover Cropping Cover crops include perennial, biennial, or annual herbaceous plants that are grown in mixed or pure stands. In this method, the farmers plant a tree, vine or bush alongside other crops which help in stimulating a healthy soil system, preventing overexposure to the sun and cutting soil-eroding wind. Adding Organic Matters Organic matters contribute by improving soil structure, increasing infiltration and water holding capacity and efficient long-term storage of nutrients. Farmers can add organic substances which include thousands of different elements derived from groundhogs that died in their burrows, manure, microorganisms, roots, decayed leaves and more. These materials help in building healthy soil. Careful Use of Tillage Tillage is a crucial part of various organic systems. Efficient management of organic matter, tilth, soil, and fertility are a critical aspect of ensuring successful farming system. With careful tillage before planting and cultivation can help in controlling weeds and reducing the incidences of insect pests and seedling... read more

Why Organic Farming Is the Future of Farming

Organic farming has very humble beginnings in the 1940s in Great Britain. The persons, who were responsible for introducing organic farming, were purely concerned about the quality of the soil beneath their feet. Today, things are more favourable for organic farming. Soon, people were able to improve the fertility of the soil and carry out organic farming. Go Green Once Again When organic farming is carried out, people make use of low tillage methods that would ensure that the quality of the soil is high. This kind of farming is known as the “second green revolution.” Many of the mainstream agriculturists now agree that farming that is intensive not only reduces the quality of the farming soil, but it also encourages irreversible soil erosion, and also generates harmful chemicals that destroy the quality of the soil and also destroy aquatic or marine life. However, in case of organic farming, caring for the soil involves a process of fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere by interspersing each crop with a cover crop. The quality of the soil is restored when you plough the soil and insert the seeds of these crops at the end of the season. Till Life Both in rich as well as in poor countries, low till agriculture is taking root. Low tillage not only reduces energy inputs, but it also helps conserve the soil structure. Low till farming also reduces the use of fertilizers made of chemicals and the like. Some nitrogen is provided initially by the cover crops. Chemical Cuts A reduction in the number of pesticides while farming has been borrowed from organic farming. Now, it is high time to stop using chemicals and to cultivate crops using only organic farming. It is definitely the future of farming since it would give those who are consuming the final products of the farm healthy crops to sustain... read more

Organic Farming- a Boon over Conservative Farming

With the speedy changes in the agricultural techniques and rapidly growing demands of better produce, farming has entered into a new era of revolution. Although much divergence is there to be noticed in the production ranging from food quality to the soil protective measures, its derivations lie in the distinctive methods and techniques of agriculture. This consecutively grade up organic farming over conservative farming. A conservative or conventional method of farming suggests by its name itself that direct methods of farming and fertilizers have been used in this for getting better yields. Being an older method of farming, conventional farming uses pesticides, insecticides, artificial chemicals and fertilizers to promote production and avoid weeds and bugs. These aberrant farming practices not only grounds soil pollution, but also causes health issues in human beings and animals due to toxic chemicals used in it. Conventional food also lacks in nutritive values and can cause many deadly diseases after consumption. Alternatively, organic farming uses creative means of farming like crop rotation, the use of dead and decayed materials of plants and animals in the form of manure in place of fertilizers and evades the use of chemicals. Soil fertility is enhanced by the implementation of such natural practices of farming. Organic Farming is considered ecologically beneficial and do not cause any harm to the soil, human beings and animals. Organic foods are measured as rich in nutrition, as it does not contain any toxic chemical content in it. These are known to be a good source of digestive acids and anti-oxidants, which are highly valuable for human digestive system and resistive immune system. Thus, Organic farming is considered as a boon over Conservative farming and practice is still going on to popularize the advantages of organic food and keep people aware of the... read more

Agriculture – all around the year, all around the country

There are many different types of farming. Every farmer has to decide for himself which method is most sustainable, most economical and gets him the best returns. In India, the method of agriculture is mostly decided by the season. In the local parlance, the summer season is known as the Kharif season while the winter season is known as the Rabi season. During the summer time, the crops which are planted require a lot of water. Thus, the farmers plant rice, sugarcane, jute, cotton and maize. The crops that are sown in the winter time are those that do not need much water. So the farmers plant wheat, barley, gram and mustard. Just like the researcher is required to do data interpretation for initiating their research work, the farmer is also required to first analyse the available resources for farming. However, thanks to the wonders of artificial irrigation it is now possible to plant some crops throughout the year. Thus, we find that rice; maize and some leafy vegetables are grown all year round. But water is a luxury that some parts of the country do not have. However, the nation’s large population ensures that there are people who survive in these parts of the country as well. These dry conditions can normally be found in the North-West areas of the country. In these parts they follow a system known as dry farming. In the absence of rain for any considerable period of time, it is essential that the farmers sow crops that can withstand the arid conditions of these areas. Sorghum and millet are grown in these parts in accordance with the surrounding geography. In fact, cuisine from these areas often contains dishes that have a high percentage of these pulses. The diverse geography of India has ensured that agriculture is practised all year round in some part of the country or the other. It has also ensured a rich variety of crops that add colour to the life of the... read more

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