885 words descriptive essay on Innovative Agricultural Technologies



Conversation of cultivable lands is achieved not only through preventive and remedial measures to control soil erosion, but also through the application of innovative agricultural technologies.

i) Organic Farming:

No modem agriculture system is completely self-contained, and all have to rely on some form of nutrient input if yields are to be sustained. The provision of an input of nitrogen into soils from nitrogen fixation occurring in the legume root nodules offers an attractive alternative nitrogen source for soils.

Addition of organic forms of fertilizers such as cow dung agricultural wastes improves the nutrient status of the soils. This may also help reduce the toxic effects of prolonged usage of inorganic nitrogen fertilizers in the past.

ii) Bio-fertilizers:

Microorganisms are important constituents of fertile soils. They participate in the development of soil structure, add to the available nutritional elements and improve the soil’s physical condition. If an important microorganism is absent from a soil it may be necessary to introduce or inoculate that organism into the soil.

Sometimes, inoculation may also be used in an attempt to supplant an indigenous organism, which is of poor quality. This is more difficult to achieve. The introduction of root nodule bacteria into soils, usually by sticking a carrier substance onto the legume seeds, represents the initial attempts at the use of bio-fertilizers.

Today a large variety of microorganisms, mounted on suitable carrier substances, are used as biofertilizers, to improve the nutritional status of crop fields. The advantage of using biofertilizers over chemical fertilizers is that they generate fertilizer right on the spot where the nutrient is needed. This is unlike chemical fertilizers, which have to be manufactured in a factory and then transported to agriculture fields.

Moreover, biofertilizers generate only requisite quantities and make such quantities available to the plants in the filed. Whereas, in case of chemically fertilized fields, the unused fertiliser is leached out and causes eutrophication of water bodies.

Once established in a field, biofertilizers need no subsequent inoculations, while chemical fertilisers have to be added with each crop and perhaps in increasing quantities every year. Use of biofertilizers may afford biological control of plant root pathogens but chemical fertilisers being non-living do not provide the crop plants with protection from pathogens. Biofertilizers thus provide and environmentally safe alternative over chemical fertilisers for the modern agro-ecosystems.

iii) Biological Pest Control:

Another application of microbiology finds its place in defending the plants against pests. Pests usually have enemies in nature but they remain inoperative because excessive agricultural production inordinately encourages the growth of pests. Biological pest control seeks to establish this ecological tool to pay down the chances of survival of pest population, through biological agents.

Care is taken to see that the agent should be specific to the pest, i.e., it should destroy only the pest concerned and not harm any other organization living in the surroundings. You may know that non-specificity of chemical pest control agents leads to death of non-target organisms. Biological pest control does not carry any such danger.

A good point about biological control is that the biological agents die a natural death within a short span of time. You may know, that chemical pesticides are not biodegradable and remain active long after destroying their target-pests and prove harmful to mankind in the long run. Which means chemical agents continue to cause damaged to the environment for years to come.

Moreover, they are likely to enter the food chain and poison human beings whereas biological agents are not likely to harm mankind on this account. Biological control of pests is therefore an ecologically sound alternative to chemical pest control.

The first real application of biological control or pests was the discovery of milky disease of Japanese beetles. The disease involves the spores of a bacterium that contain a toxin lethal to this beetle. More recent researches have resulted in commercialization of the spores of this bacterium containing a crystalline endotoxin that is the active ingredient for control of beetle larvae.

Another group of toxins made by a subspecies of this bacterium also kills mosquitoes and blackflies. Some 1,500 naturally occurring microorganisms or microbial by-products have been identified as potentially useful insecticidal agents. Thus, biological control of pests is an age-old practice and should now be adopted by our indigenous farmers.

In the race to save agricultural plants from pests, higher organisms are also as effective as microorganisms. Some examples are as follows: The first large-scale use of biological control was carried out against an accidentally introduced pest of citrus fruit. This pest, the Cottony-cushion scale (Icerya purchasi) threatened the citrus fruit industry seriously. In this case, a beetle was introduced in 1888 as a predator. The effects of this predator were that the pest was virtually eliminated within two years. The name of the control agent is ladybird beetle, and this agent continues to control the pest as effectively even today.

Another example is the recovery of 20 million hectare of Australian pastureland overrun by prickly pear cactus. An insect moth was introduced to control this weed. The larvae of this moth feed on the fleshy leaves of the cactus and populations of the moth were established within a few years. After sometime, much of the cactus weed had been destroyed, permitting the land to be used once more for agriculture.