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Monday, 8 October 2018

Improving Agricultural Yields

 Crops yields and livestock productivity have been greatly increased by the following methods.

Soil fertility and fertilizers

Maintaining the fertility of the land ensures a high level of crop production. It is achieved mainly through the use of organic manure, artificial fertilizers and rotation of crops.

   Crop yields are increased greatly  by increasing  the use of artificial fertilizers. To do this however, the farmer must know  the fertilizers requirements of the soil and the crop. Excessive fertilizer application can ruin both the soil and the crop.

Pesticides and protective chemicals

Pests, parasites and disease cause poor agricultural yields in the tropics. By using pesticides, vaccines and  other protective chemicals, farmers have greatly improved their crop yields and livestock productivity.

Improved crop and Livestock breeds

  In the 1960s, plant breeders or geneticists began the 'green revolution'. Through selective breeding they developed new strains of crop plants that have high yields. For example the 'IR-8' and 'IR-5' dwarf rice produce twice as much rice grains per plant as the normal strains.

   High yield crop have improved food production in many developing countries. However, their cultivation requires machinery and large amounts of energy, fertilizer and pesticides - materials that are in shot supply in the tropics and subtropics. Research station to have to be set up to teach farmers how to  the new crop strains. In spite of these problems, increasing the world food supply depends largely on producing new strains of crop plants that are

• produce a high yield;
• have a high nutritive content;
• are resistant to pests and diseases; and
• will grow successfully in areas where they could  not grow before.

   In the future, genetic engineering techniques may make it possible to have crop strains that have characteristics and ability

• to fix atmospheric nitrogen , or
• to produce chemicals that can prevent them from succumbing to diseases.

In Temperature countries, selective breeding has produce many livestock breeds that are highly productive. However, most of these breeds are adversely affected by the climatic conditions in the tropics. Farmers in the tropics have increased the productivity of their native livestock by crossing them with the improved foreign breeds. For example, in Nigeria, the yield milk of the native cattle is improved by crossing them with the high milk yielding Friesian castle from the Netherlands.


To obtain high yields in farming, mechanization is important. The extent of mechanization depends on the size of the farm.