Agriculture is an occupation that involves the production of food in an effort to provide sustenance to society as a whole. It has been an integral part of human civilisation going back to ancient times and it continues to be vital for sustaining human life. Agriculture is a very broad field, and is divided into six main branches which encompass different types of production and involve different methods of cultivation and utilisation.
The first branch is called arable farming. This involves the primary cultivation of crops with the intent of either immediate consumption or sales. Here, crops are durably grown on an industrial scale and are often used in the production of various food-based items. Other crops, such as cereals, may also be grown in this branch.
The second branch is called animal husbandry. This involves the keeping and raising of animals, usually for the purpose of providing other food items such as meat, eggs, and dairy. Goats, sheep, cattle, and poultry are all examples of animals commonly used in this branch.
The third branch is called horticulture. This involves the cultivation and production of fruits, vegetables, and flowers in an effort to provide fresh foodstuffs. Activities such as seed collecting, propagation, and grafting are all employed in this branch.
The fourth branch is called agroforestry. This involves the cultivation of trees and shrubs for products such as lumber, fuel, and medicines. It is often used in tandem with other branches of agriculture to provide both short-term and long-term sustainable resources.
The fifth branch is called aquaculture. This involves the cultivation of aquatic life such as fish, molluscs, crustaceans, and other aquatic life for food and other purposes.
The sixth and final branch is known as apiculture. This involves the keeping and maintenance of bee hives in an effort to harvest the honey, royalty and other products produced by bees.
What is Arable Farming?
Arable farming involves the cultivation of crops intended for either immediate consumption or sale. This branch of agriculture has been practised for centuries and is of utmost importance as it supplies many of the food and consumer items that people consume daily. It involves the use of various practices, such as irrigation, pest control, and fertilisation in order to ensure sufficient yields. Arable farmers must keep up to date on crop cycles, soil conditions, and the relevant local regulations in order to be successful.
What is Animal Husbandry?
Animal husbandry refers to the keeping and raising of animals, typically for the purpose of producing food-based items such as meat, eggs, and dairy. This branch of agriculture exacts specialised knowledge as different animals have different dietary, breeding, and living conditions. Depending on the animal, different kinds of technologies and procedures must be employed for successful husbandry. Animal husbandry can be used to provide large-scale food production, or even for the sake of producing products such as wool and leather.
What is Horticulture?
The branch of horticulture concerns itself with the production, cultivation, and care of various fruits, vegetables, and flowers. In this branch of agriculture, farmers and other labourers are required to possess a vast array of knowledge and techniques, such as seed collecting, propagation, and grafting. The techniques used in horticulture are required to bring about optimum results in terms of both commercial yields and consumer satisfaction.
What is Agroforestry?
Agroforestry is the branch of agriculture that focuses on the cultivation of trees and shrubs for the purpose of producing timber, fuel, fibre, and medicines. It involves the implementation of various techniques, such as effective tree management, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and intercropping in order to increase yields. Agroforestry is often carried out in tandem with other forms of agriculture and is seen as an effective means of providing sustainable long-term resources.
What is Aquaculture?
Aquaculture is the practice of cultivating aquatic life such as fish, molluscs, and crustaceans in an effort to harvest their produce. This branch of agriculture is a relatively new one and involves a deep understanding of aquatic ecosystems, water quality and the species of interest. Techniques used in aquaculture include water treatment, tank modification, and other forms of environmental manipulation. Aquaculture can be used to produce food and other products, but it also serves an important purpose in rehabilitation of damaged aquatic ecosystems.
What is Apiculture?
Apiculture is the branch of agriculture that deals with the keeping and management of bee hives. Farmers and beekeepers focus on providing quality living spaces for the honeybees, and thus, the greatest amount of produce is harvested. This branch of agriculture involves the use of specialised equipment, such as protective clothing, smoke generators, and even drones. It is important to note that in order for bees to generate a good crop, the environment must be given special consideration.