Modern farming methods employ science and technology to increase yield production. Agricultural practices are improved leading to higher productivity of land and labour. Modern farming methods have enabled farmers to adapt to various environmental challenges such as drought that can otherwise limit productivity. Modern farming methods consist of improved seeds, modern farm machinery such as tractors, harvesters, threshers, chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Since agriculture is the most crucial base for economic development in most countries, modern farming methods have been greatly enhanced by farmers around the world.
Table of Contents
Improved seed varieties are one the characteristics of modern farming methods. Improved seed technology is a key mechanism through which agriculture can adapt to climate change. A wide range of advanced seed varieties exist; these are drought tolerant, early maturing or both. Drought tolerant seed varieties allow agriculture to thrive in areas with unfavourable climate. Farmers are able to widen their areas of specialization as they allowed the opportunity to grow crops that would otherwise fail due to unsuitable soils or weather. In case of delayed rains and mid-season spells, modern farming methods are at the rescue. Early maturing seeds generally have shorter growing periods thus yields can be produced timely despite delays in planting. As stated earlier, a combination of drought tolerant and early maturing seeds exist. Farmers are therefore given a choice of the appropriate variety depending on how early or late in the season they plant regardless of the current climatic conditions.
The introduction of machinery as one of the modern farming methods has had a great impact on soil conservation. Planting equipment reduce tillage passage as it can plant through more crop residue. Reduced tillage decreases soil erosion and improves soil tilth. Modern farming methods employ tractors to induce efficiency in the production process. Activities such as ploughing, soil preparation, water lifting, pulling inputs and threshing are done with the use of heavy vehicles. Fuel powered tractors are used for agricultural production instead of human labour which is time consuming. Different attachments can be used on the same tractor for tillage, bed and row planting, harvesting and threshing. In addition, modern farming methods make use of nutrient injection equipment that allows the farmer to fertilize and plant at the same time, reducing the need for additional passes through the field. Modern farming tractors emit less gasses, and are increasingly becoming fuel efficient. Unlike old tractors that are difficult to control, modern agricultural vehicles allow the farmer to control ground speed for the most productive, most efficient use in different field conditions. In growing agricultural economies like Russia, a single John Deere tractor is used to replace 2 to 3 outdated, less fuel efficient machines.
Irrigation is a highly famed and essential aspect of modern farming. Increased access to various energy sources have enabled farmers to supplement water shortages through the use of irrigation. There are currently numerous irrigation water distribution systems. The selection depends on several factors including crops cultivated, climate, location, and area of agricultural production, quantity of water required over time, system cost, maintenance and repair services and availability of spare parts. Unconventional irrigation technologies such as drip irrigation provide for increased water efficiency and strict application. Laser guided scraper systems allow proper land levelling that improve efficiency of furrow irrigation. Irrigation systems allow farmers to carry out their agricultural activities throughout the year regardless of climatic conditions thus stabilising yields.
Modern farming methods make use of various agro-chemical to increase production. Fertilisers are used to counter nutrient deficiency of soils. Prior to the application of fertilizer, modern farming demands a soil analysis procedure which determines the type of nutrient supplements needed in their exact amounts. The fertiliser is then applied according to the recommended specifications. Much of the success of modern farming is reliant on the improvement and preservation of soil fertility through the specific provision of nutrients by agro-chemicals. Modern farming methods also make great use of organic fertilisers to maintain health of the soil while avoiding environmental hazards caused by agro-chemicals. Organic manure and bio-fertiliser (generated from biogas plants) are currently the most recommended soil supplements in modern farming.
Traditional farming methods make use of traditional storage units usually thatched to allow ideal temperatures. Modern farming methods slightly differ in that sophisticated storage units are used. These are powered by electricity to monitor and control temperatures. Modern storage units are categorised into dry storage and cold storage. These range from on-farm storage to medium and large scale units. Modern storage units are efficient at maintaining yields in good condition; they also protect the produce from deterioration caused rodents and fungal infestation. Through the use of modern storages, farmers are able to keep yield for a longer period of time.
Successful efforts have been made in modern farming to breed plants that are better suited to mechanical cultivation and more responsive to exogenous inputs. According to agricultural scientists, genetic modification is creating new opportunities for production enhancements. Insect resistant crops have been developed which minimise pest damage thus allowing farmers to produce high yields. Crops that are highly tolerant to herbicides have also been developed to control weeds. Modern farming methods therefore allow herbicides to be applied with minimal damage to crops. Weeds and pests are accordingly controlled by bio-crop technology resulting in high value produce.
Pests and Diseases
Modern farming methods allow effective control of pests and diseases. Various pesticides are available in the agricultural industry. Farmers can easily acquire the appropriate pesticides for their crops. The increased access to pesticides leads to increased agricultural produce as less yield is lost to pests and diseases. Another way of controlling pests and diseases in modern farming is through the selection of genetically modified seeds that offer more resistance.
Modern farming methods are continuously evolving in a bid to increase productivity. They have eliminated the most laborious and unpredictable parts of convectional farming. Farmers who make use of modern farming methods are more likely to reap greater harvest as they are provided with superior farming resources including highly developed seeds, irrigation equipment, better storage facilities and efficient machinery.