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Crop Agronomy In Organic Agriculture

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Crop Agronomy In Organic Agriculture

What is Agronomy?

Agronomy can be defined as the science that deals with the principles and practices of field management concerning major field crops with its central theme being soil-plant-environment relationship.
Agronomy is an interdisciplinary science that deals with the improvement and management of specific major food crops in the world. It is an integrated and holistic field that deals with various branches of science such as biology, chemistry, genetics, soil science, water science, ecology, economics and pest management. It also considers the commercial trade aspect as it needs to meet the quality standards and criteria set by the industry and market.
Agronomy is focused on reducing environmental effects, while meticulously managing an equilibrium with the quality and quantity of food production which forms the basis of economic sustainability. Production is highly dependent on biophysical factors such as crop area where plant, pathogen and pets interact and share available resources such as water, nutrients, light and habitat.

Basic Principles of Agronomy in Organic Farming

The scientific laws that govern agronomy in organic farming are:

  • Planning, programming and implementation of measures for the best utilization of land, water, sunlight, money, labour, marketing facilities and other resources
  • Selection of crop varieties based on their adaptability to particular climate, soil, season and method of cultivation
  • Implementation of appropriate land management strategies such as tillage, irrigation and drainage methods and soil erosion
  • Adoption of crop rotation and inter-cropping to retain the productivity of the soil through all cropping seasons
  • Timely application of natural fertilizers and pesticides to provide balanced nutrition to the plants and protect them from disease-causing pests
  • Choosing the best quality seed and seed material and ensuring the plant density per unit area
  • Efficient and judicial use of water to minimize wastage
  • Use of sustainable fertilizers, weedicides and pesticides
  • Adoption of management practices that give maximum monetary benefits
  • Efficient post-harvest management

Classification of Agronomic Crops

Agronomic crops are classified into the following groups:

  1. Cereal crops which could be either cultivated grasses such as rice, wheat, barley etc. or millet crops such as foxtail millet, proso millet etc.
  2. Oilseed crops such as mustard, soybean, sesame, sunflower, groundnut, safflower etc.
  3. Pulse crops such as black gram, cowpea, lentil, soybean, peas etc.
  4. Forage crops such as cowpea, maize, oats, Napier grass etc.
  5. Fibre crops such as cotton, jute, sunn hemp, flax, agave, pineapple etc.
  6. Sugar crops such as sugarcane, beets etc.
  7. Green manuring crops such as cowpea, green gram, dhaincha etc.
  8. Narcotic crops such as tobacco, cannabis etc.
  9. Beverage crops such as coffee, tea, cocoa, etc.

There are certain special agronomic crops such as:

  1. Emergency crops which are cultivated to catch the upcoming season. They grow quickly and are harvestable at any time of their growth. Some of the examples are green gram, black gram and cowpea
  2. Cash crops which are meant for commercial purposes such as tobacco, cotton, jute etc.
  3. Cover crops that protect the soil from erosion e.g., black gram, groundnut etc.
  4. Mulch crops that retain soil moisture. E.g., cowpea
  5. Restorative crops such as legumes which enrich the soil
  6. Exhaustive crops which render soil exhausted due to their aggressive nature. E.g., sesame, linseed etc.

Online Course In Agribusiness At James Lind Institute

To learn more about agronomy in organic farming, enroll yourself in an online training program in agribusiness being launched at James Lind Institute. This course acquaints you with various other aspects of organic farming, including soil fertility, the role of animal health and nutrition in organic farming and environmental impacts of organic farming along with a broad overview of sustainable agriculture and food security in African countries. The globally accredited and industry specific training fine-tunes your skills to match the needs of the ever-growing market. For more details, please visit

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