Cropping systems vary among farms depending on the available resources and constraints; geography and climate of the farm; government policy; economic, social and political pressures; and the philosophy and culture of the farmer. Shifting cultivation (or slash and burn) is a system in which forests are burnt, releasing nutrients to support.
The grain crops that we humans depend on daily to hold body and soul together are annual crops -- they have to be planted every year. They germinate, bear their delicious product, and then die off; the following year, a brand new crop is put in to take their place.Such annual crops are high in yield, but they require vast amounts of artificial fertilizer, and their impermanence contributes to soil erosion. Perennial grain crops, if they existed, could require less fuel, less fertilizer, less herbicide and pesticide, and help prevent erosion by remaining deeply rooted in the soil throughout the winter (and indeed for years).
In 2006, 252 million acres of transgenic crops were planted in 22 countries by 10.3 million farmers. The majority of these crops were herbicide- and insect-resistant soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, and alfalfa.
Technologies for genetically modifying foods offer dramatic promise for meeting some of the 21st Century's greatest challenges. Like all new technologies, they also pose some risks, both known and unknown. Controversies surrounding GM foods and crops commonly focus on human and environmental safety, labeling and consumer choice, intellectual property rights, ethics, food security, poverty reduction, and environmental conservation.
Growers considering growing produce in an area where a commercial produce industry has not matured should first consider marketing alternatives available in local markets. Local markets are easier to access because they can be served by an individual grower with a small or large volume of produce.
Via infrared, the [Prospero] robots communicate with each other, marking places that have already been planted and signaling to each other when one needs help seeding a particular plot. The result is a system that can optimize things like seed spacing and remember where each individual seed is planted. It can also make very good decisions about when and where to plant seeds based on varying soil types, even within the same field. It’s essentially fully customizable seed planting on a foot-by-foot basis.
Since its inception in 2001, [the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee] has met up to two times per year to develop recommendations for submission to the Secretary of Agriculture on issues affecting the U.S. produce industry.
Certain groups are concerned about what they consider to be an undesirable level of control of seed markets by a few chemical companies. Sustainable agriculture and biodiversity benefit most from the use of a rich variety of crops, both in terms of good crop protection practices as well as from the perspective of society at large and the values attached to food. These groups fear that as a result of the interest of the chemical industry in seed markets, the range of varieties used by farmers may be reduced mainly to GM crops.
The [Seawater Greenhouses, planned to be built in the Sahara], which will cost as little as $5 a square foot to build, get water from the sea, either by gravity or a pump. The water trickles down honeycomb-shaped lattices on the front wall and evaporates, cooling and humidifying the air inside. The air warms as it travels across the greenhouse—hotter air can hold more moisture—before reaching a second evaporator, which supersaturates it. From there, the air moves immediately into a condenser, which pulls out freshwater and sends it to an underground storage tank for watering the plants.
While the banking and automotive industries implode, fruit and vegetable growers are fending off a financial crisis of their own. Tough immigration laws, among other factors, are shrinking the labor supply for picking delicate crops, in some cases leaving millions of dollars of produce unpicked.
Wheat covers more of the earth than any other crop. It's a resilient crop, growing in the dry and cold climates where rice and corn cannot. Wheat is the leading source of vegetable protein for humans worldwide.
As a vegetatively propagated crop, cassava multiplication is generally slow. However, as a result of the crop's potential in alleviating hunger and malnutrition, rapid multiplication techniques are being developed by [International Institute of Tropical Agriculture] scientists to cope with the demand. If the present awareness on cassava adoption is sustained by farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, it is believed that-given adequate government support-the food situation will soon improve.