Agriculture Through the Years: Then to Now

By Monsanto

Over centuries, farmers in India have relied on traditional practices that have been honed over generations, passed down from father to son. Farming, as an occupation is a difficult profession requiring long hours in the field and intense physical labour. They relied on hand weeding, crop rotation and tillage using oxen.

In fact, hand-weeding was one of the most time-consuming aspects of farming, and still continues to be in most parts of the country. The sheer amount of manual labour required to weed acres of farmland can be very costly – a definite downside to manual weeding.

The progress towards Sustainable Ag

Over the course of the latter half of the 20th century, these practices evolved – oxen were replaced by tractors and farmers attempted to switch from manual weeding to using herbicides. Not only did their costs reduce, but the efficacy of these practices greatly increased.

Even then, tillage was a common practice which was used to break the dense, compact soil. This would help prepare the seed bed and make planting easier.

However, over the course of time, farmers realised that the ill-effects of tillage outweigh the good. They discovered that all this time tillage has been creating a negative impact on the soil as it causes soil erosion, damages the soil structure and the ecosystem it houses.

Since then, farming practices such as conservation tillage and even no-till farming have been increasingly adopted by cultivators. These practices consume fewer resources and reduce input costs while increasing yield.

Striving towards Innovation

In recent years, the infusion of technology has changed the face of agriculture. Satellite imagery and data are constantly assisting farmers analyse weather patterns, forecasts and take preventive action well in time. These insights are beamed straight to their phones, aided with recommendations and best practices they can apply on their farms.

Armed with data analytics, farmers are no longer forced into relying on general solutions used for all crops but instead detailed information is now available at their fingertips for each crop.

Even at a macro level, hybrid plant varieties are helping farmers tackle the diverse climatic conditions that can be found across the country. Each region has specific soil quality, humidity, rainfall, and more. That’s why hybrids are developed for a particular region – so that they are best suited to thrive in those conditions. The result? Higher yields!

At Monsanto, we work with farmers, NGOs and universities to develop improved solutions and farming practices. With these improved solutions, agriculture in India can continue to advance and ensure we meet the growing demand for food across the world.

Over 70 years of Independence, agriculture in our country has seen a marked growth with many revolutions such as the Green (food grains), Blue (fishing) and Yellow Revolution (oilseed). Now, with improved practices and better solutions, farming can become an even stronger contributor to the economy of our nation. After all, agriculture has always been the backbone of the Indian economy.

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