The agricultural activities They are those typical of the sector of society dedicated to agriculture as an economic activity, that is, to the use of soils for planting, caring for and harvesting fruits, grains and / or vegetables for later consumption and sale to other sectors. For example: plowing, sowing, watering.
These types of activities are characteristic of a primary sector, that is to say, of production of goods. They can occur in multiple ways, both artisan and technological, and usually extend over time, according to the stationary stages of sowing and cultivation. When they are carried out together with the activities of livestock, we will be in the presence of the entire agricultural sector.
It is a set of knowledge and practices of ancestral origin, who have accompanied man since at least 7000 BC. Its origins are estimated in prehistory, but it is known that in the fertile lands of the Nile during the Egyptian dynasties, in the pre-Columbian lands and in the primitive Chinese civilizations, it was practiced independently.
Its central axis is, as we have said, the sowing and the culture of the different plant species that can be used by man, both to feed themselves, to decorate their homes or to obtain inputs that can then be transformed or used, in turn, in other industries.
Agriculture generally comprises various stages, such as the sowing or planting of plant species; the cultivation or irrigation and feeding of the plants once they have germinated; the harvest, collection or extraction, depending on whether it is fruits, tubers, flowers, etc .; and the subsequent distribution and commercialization, or simply consumption of the agricultural product.
Types of agriculture
There are numerous possible classifications for agriculture, namely:
According to your use of water and water resources. It is classified in:
- Irrigated agriculture. The farmer contributes to the sowing quantities of water necessary for the birth and development of the plants, through natural or technological resources.
- Rainfed agriculture. There is no added water by the farmer, but the rains, groundwater and nutrients from the earth are used naturally.
According to your production ratio. It can be about:
- Subsistence farming. The one practiced in small orchards or family crops, which provides food inputs to the farmers themselves.
- Extensive agriculture. Low production, it takes place in a more natural way, in large areas of land. It fails to supply the market demand.
- intensive agriculture. It makes use of technology and agricultural chemicals to maximize plant production in rather small and specific spaces, generating a considerable environmental impact but meeting the growing demands of the food market.
According to their methods. Several forms of agriculture are distinguished:
- Traditional agriculture. It uses the ancient methods of cultivation and work of the land, which respond to the local culture and the historically implanted tradition.
- Industrial agriculture. It uses the developments of science and technology to maximize its food production, despite having consequences on the soil and the food itself produced.
- Organic agriculture. Also called ecological or biological, it aspires to achieve a profitable way of producing food but attentive to the ecological needs of the environment, as well as respecting the nature of the harvested products.
- Natural farming. The “wild” harvesting of agricultural products developed without human intervention is called this many times.
Examples of agricultural activities
- Plow. Plowing means opening shallow furrows in the ground and thus preparing it to receive the seed. This activity is traditionally carried out by means of a team and beasts of burden, such as oxen or mules, and in technological variants it is carried out with tractors or specialized cultivation mechanisms.
- Pass. The enrichment of the land with compost favors the presence of nutrients in it, either naturally (through processes of composting or recycling of decomposing matter) or through chemical additives (sulfates, nitrates, urea, etc.). Sometimes this can affect the size and volume of the fruit obtained.
- Sowing. It is the process in which the seed is inserted into the grooves drawn in the soil, according to a specific and prior arrangement (at least in the case of heterogeneous crops). The depth to which it is deposited must be adequate so as not to hinder the sprouting of the plant when germinating, but neither to leave the seed in the open.
- Irrigation. Vital stage to produce the germination of the planted seeds, consists of pouring water over the field. This, of course, according to the needs of the sown, since some plants require constant watering and others occasional watering, or none at all. According to these conditions, we proceed to water, or simply wait for the rains.
- Culture. This stage includes irrigation, care, pruning or other activities that are intended to stimulate plant growth and prepare conditions for harvesting and harvesting.
- I take care of the field. Crop care focuses more than anything on guaranteeing the required humidity conditions and fighting weeds and pests, through natural methods or pesticides, herbicides and other toxic substances that eliminate unwanted plant and animal species.
- Harvest. Last stage in the agricultural production chain, it begins with the selection of the optimum moment of ripening of the fruits, to guarantee their optimum quality. Harvesting can be done manually or by mechanical procedures, depending on the agricultural model and the type of product. In some cases this process includes the sacrifice of the plants.
- Crop rotation. In extensive or traditional models of agriculture, crop rotation is essential in order not to deplete the quality of the soils. Planting the same species in the same place over and over again depletes resources and requires the introduction of additional nutrients, while changing crops allows the natural recovery of the soil.
- Distribution. Once the fruits or agricultural goods have been harvested, we proceed to the separation or selection of the goods in better condition and the elaboration of the different distribution channels. Not everything goes to the same place, nor is it bought by the same customer, so logistical work is necessary to separate the goods produced.
- Sale. In many cases the final sale to the consumer is carried out away from the fields, by intermediaries or merchants, although in other less industrialized models the same farmer arranges for the sale of his harvest, or his own family consumes it.