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Agriculture, also called farming or husbandry, is the cultivation of animals,

plants, fungi, and other life forms for food, fiber, biofuel, medicinals and other

products used to sustain and enhance human life. Agriculture was the key

development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of

domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development

of civilization. The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science. The

history of agriculture dates back thousands of years, and its development has

been driven and defined by greatly different climates, cultures, and technologies.

However, all farming generally relies on techniques to expand and maintain the

lands that are suitable for raising domesticated species. For plants, this usually

requires some form of irrigation, although there are methods of dryland farming.

Livestock are raised in a combination of grassland-based and landless systems,

in an industry that covers almost one-third of the world's ice- and water-free area.

In the developed world, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture

has become the dominant system of modern farming, although there is growing

support for sustainable agriculture, including permaculture and organic


Until the Industrial Revolution, the vast majority of the human population

labored in agriculture. Pre-industrial agriculture was typically subsistence

agriculture/self-sufficiency in which farmers raised most of their crops for

their own consumption instead of cash crops for trade. A remarkable shift in

agricultural practices has occurred over the past century in response to new

technologies, and the development of world markets. This also has led to

technological improvements in agricultural techniques, such as the Haber-Bosch

method for synthesizing ammonium nitrate which made the traditional practice

of recycling nutrients with crop rotation and animal manure less important.



There are two main branches of agricultural production – crop production

and animal husbandry.

Crop production is the practice of growing and harvesting crops. The most

important crops grown by man are grain crops, vegetables and grasses. In order to

obtain high yields crops are grown under favorable soil and climatic conditions.

Animal husbandry is a branch of agriculture including the breeding of farm

animals and their use. Dairy and beef cattle, hogs, sheep, and poultry are widely

bred throughout the world. Farm animals are highly important sources of food

for man. They are kept for the production of such nutritious products as meat,

milk and eggs.

Many crops grown by man are used in feeding livestock. At the same time

manure produced by farm animals is an important source for the maintenance

soil fertility. Most of the nutrients taken by plants from the soil are thus returned.

Applying manure, farmers improve the physical condition of the soil.

Thus, crop production and animal husbandry are closely connected with

each other.



3) Animal husbandry is the management and care of farm animals by

humans for profit, in which genetic qualities and behavior, considered to be

advantageous to humans, are further developed. The term can refer to the

practice of selectively breeding and raising livestock to promote desirable

traits in animals for utility, sport, pleasure, or research, but also refers to the

efficient exploitation of a species in agriculture advantageous to humans.

History of breeding

Animal husbandry has been practiced for thousands of years, since the

first domestication of animals. Selective breeding for desired traits was first

established as a scientific practice by Robert Bakewell during the British

Agricultural Revolution in the 18th century. One of his most important breeding

programs was with sheep. Using native stock, he was able to quickly select for

large, yet fine-boned sheep, with long, lustrous wool. The Lincoln Longwool

was improved by Bakewell and in turn the Lincoln was used to develop the

subsequent breed, named the New (or Dishley) Leicester. It was hornless and

had a square, meaty body with straight top lines. These sheep were exported

widely and have contributed to numerous modern breeds.

Breeding techniques

Techniques such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer are

frequently used today, not only as methods to guarantee that females breed

regularly but also to help improve herd genetics. This may be done by

transplanting embryos from high-quality females into lower-quality surrogate

mothers - freeing up the higher-quality mother to be impregnated. This practice

vastly increases the number of offspring which may be produced by a small

selection of the best quality parent animals. On the one hand, this improves the

ability of the animals to convert feed to meat, milk, or fiber more efficiently,

and improve the quality of the final product. On the other, it decreases genetic

diversity, increasing the severity of disease outbreaks among other risks.


Farming practices

Farming practices vary dramatically worldwide and between types of

animals. Livestock are generally kept in an enclosure, are fed by human-

provided food[citation needed] and are intentionally bred, but some livestock

are not enclosed, or are fed by access to natural foods, or are allowed to breed

freely, or any combination thereof. Livestock raising historically was part of a

nomadic or pastoral form of material culture. The herding of camels and reindeer

in some parts of the world remains unassociated with sedentary agriculture. The

transhumance form of herding in the Sierra Nevada of California still continues,

as cattle, sheep or goats are moved from winter pasture in lower elevation valleys

to spring and summer pasture in the foothills and alpine regions, as the seasons

progress. Cattle were raised on the open range in the Western United States and

Canada, on the Pampas of Argentina, and other prairie and steppe regions of the


The enclosure of livestock in pastures and barns is a relatively new

development in the history of agriculture. When cattle are enclosed, the type of

‘enclosure’ may vary from a small crate, a large fenced pasture or a paddock. The

type of feed may vary from natural growing grass, to animal feed. Animals are

usually intentionally bred through artificial insemination or through supervised

mating. Indoor production systems are typically used for pigs, dairy cattle and

poultry, as well as for veal cattle, dairy goats and other animals, depending on

the region and season. Animals kept indoors are generally farmed intensively,

as large space requirements would make indoor farming unprofitable and

impossible. However, indoor farming systems are controversial due to the waste

they produce, odour problems, the potential for groundwater contamination and

animal welfare concerns. (For further discussion on intensively farmed livestock,

see factory farming, and intensive pig farming).

Farm animals

Animal husbandry, a branch of agricultural production, includes the breeding

of farm animals and their use. Farm animals are highly important sources of food

for man. They are known to produce highly nutritious products such as milk,

meat and eggs. In addition, the skin of animals, down and feather of poultry and

wool of sheep are used as raw materials to produce clothing and for many other


The most important group of farm animals is cattle. There are four types of

cattle. They are dairy cattle, beef cattle, draft cattle and dual- purpose cattle. Dairy

cattle, that is, dairy cows provide milk that may be used in making various dairy

products. Beef cattle are the producer of beef. One can raise dual-purpose cattle

producing both milk and meat. Draft cattle and horses are almost everywhere

replaced by agricultural machinery.

Important sources in producing human food are sheep and hogs. Sheep are

raised for two purposes: wool and mutton production. The production cycle of

hogs is much shorter than that of cattle or sheep. In other words, unlike the other

farm animals hogs are rapid growing ones. They may be fattened in less than six

months. That is why hog breeding is one of the most important and economic

ways of solving the problem of supplying the population with meat.

Date: 2016-01-03; view: 10726

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