Modern Agriculture

Modern agriculture is an evolving approach of agricultural innovations and farming practices that help farmers increase efficiency and reduce the number of natural resources like water, land, and energy necessary to meet the world’s food, fuel, and fiber needs. The agribusiness, intensive farming, organic farming, and sustainable agriculture are other names of modern agriculture.
  • Modern agriculture improves the affordability of food, increases the food supply, ensured the food safety, increases the sustainability and oxygen content near the field due to increased photosynthesis and also produces more biofuels. But with the same time, it also leads to environmental problems because it is based on high input– high output technique using hybrid seeds of high-yielding variety and abundant irrigation water, fertilizers and pesticides.UPSC Prelims 2024 dynamic test series
  • The Environmental Impacts are:
- Soil Erosion: The top fertile soil of the farmland is removed due to the excessive water supply. This leads to the loss of nutrient rich soil that hampered the productivity. It also causes the global warming because the silt of water bodies induces the release of soil carbon from the particulate organic material.
- Contamination of ground water: The ground water is one of the important sources of water for irrigation. From agricultural fields nitrogenous fertilizers leach into the soil and finally contaminate groundwater. When the nitrate level of groundwater exceeds 25 mg/l, they can cause a serious health hazard known as “Blue Baby Syndrome”, which affects mostly infants even leading to their death.
- Water-logging and salinity: The salinity of the soil is one of the reasons of low productivity just because of the improper management of farm drainage. In this situation, the roots of plants do not get enough air to respiration then it leads to low crop yield as well as low mechanical strength.
- Eutrophication: It refers to the addition of artificial or non-artificial substances such as nitrates and phosphate, through fertilizers or sewage, to a fresh water system. It leads to increase in the primary productivity of the water body or ‘bloom’ of phytoplankton. Excessive use of fertilizers that consists of nitrogen and phosphorus leads to over nourishment of the lakes/water bodies and gives rise to the phenomenon of eutrophication.
- Loss of non-target species: There are many pesticides which are used for destroying pests and boosting crop production. However the application and desired consequences are not always targeted and exclusive of each other. For Example- Dichloro Diphenyl Trichloroethane (DDT) containing pesticides were used for pest reduction, but unfortunately, it also targeted the beneficial pests.
- Micronutrient imbalance: Because the nutrients are readily available, there is a danger of over fertilization causing excess of some minerals and lack of others leading to micronutrient imbalance.
- Increased photosynthetic rate: Fertilization of feilds stimulate the enhancements of net CO2 assimilation rate . This CO2 fertilization affects and promotes the mechanism of crop response by favoring greater photosynthesis and thus increasing the level of oxygen in turn.

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