Crop production can be improved by breeding new varieties of crops having higher yield.

The main aim of plant breeding is to produce new crops superior to the existing ones. By this method new varieties of crops, having higher yield, resistant to pests and disease can be grown. Hence, plant breeding can be defined as a science as well as art of improving genetic make-up of plants in relation to their economic use. The various approaches used for genetic improvement of crop plants are referred to as plant breeding methods or techniques. Introduction The process of introducing new plants from the place of their cultivation to a place with different climate is termed as plant introduction. The adjustment of such plants to this new locality is called acclimatization. The new crops are introduced in the form of seeds, bulbs or cuttings. This is an easy and rapid method for crop improvement. Several plants have been successfully introduced to India and they have got well adapted to the new climatic and soil conditions. Example y y y y y Groundnut was introduced from Philippines. Cinchona was introduced from Peru. Papaya was introduced from West Indies. Potato was introduced from South America. Date-palm was introduced from Brazil.

Selection Selection is an important technique in plant breeding. It involves picking the healthiest and the best ones out of the entire crop and reproducing them under controlled conditions. Hybridisation Hybridisation is the technique of introducing characters of two desirable plants into a single offspring (hybrid) by means of artificial pollination. This involves crossing of genetically dissimilar plants. Intervarietal hybridization (between two different varieties) y Most of the hybrid varieties of cereals have been evolved by this type of hybridization. The hybrid varieties thus evolved give good yield, are resistant to disease, are of better quality and have higher nutritive value.

Interspecific hybridization (between two species of the same genus) Several disease, pest and drought resistant varieties of wheat, tomato, sugarcane have been evolved by this method. Intergeneric hybridization (between two plants belonging to two different genera)

PNR 591 -18 HD2687. Advantages of crop rotation y Rotation of crops improves the fertility of the soil and hence. When the cereal crops like rice. leguminous crops like pulses. The leguminous plants are grown alternately with nonleguminous plants to restore the fertility of the soil. Arun. planting a leguminous plant will result in nitrogen rich soil and when a cereal is grown in this soil there is increase in food grain production. PBW 154. UPAS 120. Kaushal Pusa Bold. Kasturi. HW157 Ganga 5. Vikram K850. Raphonobrassica. Durga. maize are grown in the soil. PK321. If another crop of cereal is grown in the same soil. TMV12. the soil becomes nitrogen deficient. Vikas. maize and pearl millet. So by rotation a leguminous crop is grown. PS1. M37. groundnut and Bengal gram are sown in -between the seasons of cereal crops like wheat. Shakti. . These nitrogen compounds go into the soil and make it more fertile. 58. CG11. Pusa 240. MSFHB. After the leguminous plants utilize some of the nitrogen compounds. brings about an increase in the production of food grains. wheat. C05 PS 16. Pusa 84. Pant 114 Pusa Ageti. Triticale. Gaurav BSH1. Kranti. HIM 128. T44. Sugarcane-sorghum (jowar) are some examples of this type of crossing. Navjot. Pusa Agarni. peas. beans. it uses up a lot of nitrogenous salts from the soil. H208. Pant 430. Morden. C306. ICGS1. Aasha MH2. Pusa Basmati 1. Pusa 24. RH3O PK262. There plants have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen to form nitrogen compounds through the help of certain bacteria present in their root. HD2285. Rabbage. Manak.This type of hybridization is more for scientific interest than for any other use. Thus. Paras Varieties Ir36. T21 Oilseeds The growing of different kinds of crops on a piece of land in a preplanned succession is known as crop rotation. RLM 514. Improved varieties of some important crops Commodities Crops Rice Cereals Wheat Maize Chickpea Pigeonpea Pulses Uradhean Mung bean Groundnut Mustard Soya bean Sunflower T9. K851. the rest of it is left in the soil to enrich it. In the rotation of crops.

linseed. Maize mustard One-year rotation 2. wheat. Rice. Vegetables and flowers are grown in areas close to the cities for higher income. Selection of crops for rotation Type Rotations 1. maize-mustard-sugarcane-fenugreek (methi) Two-year rotation 2. so that the farmer gets maximum benefit. On the other hand if soil is heavy. fertiliser. pesticide cost is reduced. . because leguminous plants grown during the rotation of crops can fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil with the help of nitrogen fixing bacteria. To decide which crops to select for the purpose of crop rotation. Crop rotation adds diversity to an operation. Cotton-oat-sugarcane-peas-maize-wheat Areas with assured soil moisture throughout the year have the potential for higher yield. This is because weeds and pests are very choosy about the host crop plant. labour and machine power). moisture condition. chickpea. Different methods of crop assessment are adopted. potato and berseem are some of the major components of crop rotation . length of rainy season. y y Selection of crops for rotation Selection of crops for rotation depends on soil condition. duration of crop (annual. safflower.y Rotation of crops helps in saving on nitrogenous fertilizers. under ideal conditions two to four crops can be produced. but when different crops are grown in the same field the assessment becomes difficult. millets are preferred. barley and wheat are grown on conserved moisture. Rice-wheat 1. pesticide. Either crop is grown in kharif season and field is kept vacant during rabi season. When the crop is changed the cycle is broken. Alternately fields are kept vacant for moisture conservation and rabi crop of mustard. rice-wheat-mung-mustard-sugarcane-berseem Three-year rotation 2. Hence. type of inputs available (irrigation. risk involved. sugarcane. If soil is compact the crops selected are castor and pigeonpea. Maize-potato-sugarcane-peas 1. where moisture is limited and the soil is light. the evaluation of a crop is done on the basis of total production and the amount of input used. biennial or perennial) and marketing and processing facilities. In rainfed areas. Assessment of crop rotation Ideally. which they attack. In these areas. sorghum is grown. Rotation of crops help in weed control and pest control. assessment of crop rotations is necessary.

y Cropping Index The cropping index of a crop rotation can be worked out by the following equation and expressed in terms of percentage. This type of cropping leads to an improvement in the fertility of the soil and hence. Some successful mixed cropping practices are: Soyabean + Pigeonpea Maize + udad dal (Black gram) Pigeonpea + Mung dal (Green gram) Groundnut + Sunflower Sorghum + Pigeonpea Wheat + Chickpea Barley + Chickpea Wheat + Mustard Cotton + Groundnut Mixed cropping has proved successful because of the right selection of crops. increase in crop yield because when the two crops are properly chosen the products and refuse from one crop plant help in the growth of the other crop plant and vice-versa. Mixed cropping is an insurance against crop failure due to abnormal weather conditions. y Monetary Input Output Relationship Efficiency of crop rotation can be described as an output per unit of input. . It is also known as multiple cropping. y Cost Benefit Ratio y Net Returns The monetary difference of input and output value is expressed as Mixed cropping is growing of two or more crops simultaneously on the same piece of land.

by the right choice of component crops soil fertility is improved. Nutrients demand: y One crop component requires more nutrients and the other requires lesser nutrients. legume crops have a beneficial effect on cereal or non-legume crops as they help in fixing nitrogen in the soil. Root pattern: y One crop component is deep rooted whereas the other is shallow rooted. nutrients and water. Mixed cropping is done to reduce the competition between component crops for light. Growing legumes will help increase the nitrogen content in the soil. Minimizing pest damage . For example. Thus. pulses. Improvement in soil fertility The growth of cereal crops depletes the soil of nutrients . Increase in yield Component crops have a complimentary effect on one another. Growth habit: y The two component crops grow to different heights with different canopy. Water need: y One crop component requires comparatively lesser water than the other. Variety of Produce A variety of produce could be produced from a single crop to meet the varying requirements of the family like cereals. vegetables etc. Advantages of mixed cropping No risk of crop failure The risk of total crop failure due to uncertain monsoon is reduced if two crops of different nature are grown simultaneously as a mixed crop. the other crop can cover the risk of complete failure. There is higher yield by this method.Criteria for selection for selection of crops Agriculturists and farmers select component crops for mixed cropping based on certain criteria. Duration of crops: y One crop is of long duration and the other is of short duration. If one crop fails due to shortage of moisture or insufficient availability of nutrients.

So sustainable agriculture means successful management of resources for agriculture to satisfy the changing human needs. there is a need for increasing productivity per unit area and time. diseases) infestation. or the ability to last out and keep from falling. In this context. Sustainability means keeping an effort going continuously. while maintaining or enhancing the quality of environment and conserving natural resources. Here plants of a different species are planted along the border of the field. Comparison between mixed cropping and intercropping Mixed cropping Target to minimize risk of crop failure Seeds of two crops are mixed before sowing No set pattern of rows Difficult to apply fertilizer to individual crop Spraying for pest control to individual crop is difficult Harvesting and threshing of crops separately not possible Marketing and consumption of only mixed produce is possible Intercropping Target increase productivity per unit area Seeds of two crops are not mixed Set pattern of rows Fertilizer can be placed as per need of the crops Pesticides can be easily applied to individual crop Both crops can be easily harvested and threshed separately Produce of each crop can be marketed and consumed separately The above table gives a comparison between mixed cropping and intercropping. Another type of mixed cropping is border cropping. Due to increasing needs and reducing available land resources. insects.Crops of a particular species are more prone to a particular type of pest (weed. Yet another type of mixed cropping is the use of strips of a different species at intervals within the crop. Example castor plant around a vegetable field. Intercropping is a specialized type of mixed farming wherein two or more crops are grown simultaneously in the same field in definite rows. When different types of crops are grown together chances of pest infestations are reduced or diluted. They are grown in ratios 1:1. Importance of Sustainable Agriculture Sustainable agriculture is an agricultural production and distribution system that y Achieves the integration of natural biological cycles and controls. traditional mixed cropping has been retailored and the system of intercropping has been introduced. 1:2. . 1:3.

sugar and oil. size. Our natural resources (soil. there is an urgent need to increase crop production. The various factors.y y y y y Protects and renews soil fertility and the natural resource base. one type of plant has many varieties. as our land resources are limited. Optimizes the management and use of on-farm resources. fruit. The revolution is called green because it led to unprecedented greenery of crops everywhere. Provides an adequate and dependable form of income. Similarly. Reduces the use of non-renewable resources and purchased production inputs. Sustainable agriculture can be achieved by adapting: y y y y y Mixed farming Mixed cropping Crop rotation Crop selection Varietal Improvement. Promotes opportunity in family farming and farm communities. The yield of wheat and rice which stood at 668 kg and 663 kg per hectare respectively in 1952 increased to 1851 and 1468 kg per hectare in eighties. It is because of the green revolution that our country has become self sufficient in food production and a large stock of food grains has been created for use in the times of natural calamities like drought. Let us study the production of wheat and rice in our country. fibre. The production has tripled in thirty years. A lot of research has gone into creating these varieties. With the ever increasing demand on food grains. Producing many varieties has not only brought about an improvement in the quality but also has brought about an increase in production. Thus. There are several varieties of rice available in the market. there are many varieties of mangoes and brinjal. weedicides and pesticides More land under cultivation Improved soil practices and agricultural implements Need for varietal improvement Population grows in geometrical proportions but food grows in only arithmetical proportion. which collectively led to the green revolution in our country. vegetables. floods and famine. which has led to Green Revolution in our country. fodder. shape and taste. water and weather) are being . They have been tailor made to satisfy the different needs of man. This increase in food production has marked a turning point in Indian agriculture. are: y y y y y Introduction of high yielding varieties of Mexican wheat Proper irrigation Increased use of fertilizers. Each variety is unique in its colour.

for better productivity. Desirable Agronomic Traits Good height. High yielding crops should be developed for this purpose. insects and pests) and abiotic (drought. The required exposure to sunlight and the right temperature determines the healthy growth of the plant and ensures a good yield. heat. This will reduce the cost of crop production. y Better quality The public is aware and so it looks out for better q uality crops. Developing varieties insensitive to these factors will help in overcoming these constraints. The quality would mean better size. colour. Then these crops can be grown in areas.deteriorated and depleted. y Early and uniform maturity In certain long duration crops. The reasons for crop improvement are: y Improved yield Here the aim is to increase crop production. shape and taste. early maturity can make the crop double or triple cropping system. salinity. Cereal crops should be short. high tillering and profuse branching are traits. y Biotic and Abiotic resistance Varieties that are biotic (diseases. which might not have been ideally suited for the growth of these varieties. water logging. So there is an urgent need for improvement in crop plants. frost) resistant can be developed by an increase in crop production. . y Photo and Thermo insensitivity Crop plants are sensitive to light and temperature. Developing varieties with agronomic traits that are tailor . Along with early maturity if the crop also has the quality of uniform maturity it will make the harvesting process easy and reduce the loss of crop during harvesting. This ensures spread of new crops. The health conscious public also wants better nutritive value in the food crop. The variety developed should be superior to its predecessor. desirable for fodder crops.made will ensure higher yield. Wider Adaptability Developing varieties of wider adaptability will help stabilize crop production under unfavourable environmental conditions. cold.