|Better Farming Series 10. The Farm Business Survey (FAO Better Farming series, 1976, 38 p.)|
|Part 1 - Agriculture is a trade that must be learned|
You have just finished the first- year course.
You learned first about plants and their different parts:
· the root has a very important
part to play (see Booklet No. 1 ):
· it holds the plant to the soil;
· above all, it takes from the soil the plant's food - mineral salts. If roots did not exist, plants could not feed themselves. They wouId die.
· the stem (see Booklet No. 2):
· it carries the branches, leaves, flowers and fruits;
· it moves the raw sap from the root to the leaves.
· the leaves (see Booklet No. 2):
The action of the leaves is chiefly to change the raw sap into elaborated sap. The raw sap is the mineral salts and water which the roots have taken from the soil. The raw sap cannot be used directly to feed the plant. The raw sap has to be changed. It is the leaves which change the raw sap into elaborated sap.
This is known as vegetable synthesis.
The elaborated sap can feed the plant directly.
· the flowers (see Booklet No. 31:
The job of the flowers is to produce fruits.
· the fruits (see Booklet No. 31:
Usually we grow plants to harvest their fruits, such as: the grains of millet, sorghum, maize, the berries of coffee, the pods of cocoa, the fruits of oil palms and coconut palms, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, papaws.
After that you learned about the soil.
· How is the soil made up? (see Booklet No. 4)
The soil is a mixture of sand, clay and silt.
Good soil contains humus. Humus makes many soils much better, it helps air and water to circulate better, and makes the soil richer.
· The soil must be conserved (see Booklet No. 5) by protecting the soil against flowing water (erosion by water) against wind (erosion by wind), and against sun that is too hot.
To do this on sloping fields, the ploughing should be along contour lines, and the soil should be covered.
· Soil fertility must be improved (see Booklet No. 6) by applying manure and compost, by growing green manuring crops, by the use of fertilizers.
Besides that, water can be brought in (irrigation) if the ground is too dry; and water can be taken away (drainage) if the ground is too wet.
· The soil must be well worked so as to produce more (see Booklet No. 7).
All the jobs on the land must be well done, and they must be done at the right time.
Then you learned about animals.
If you want to have many fine animals, you must:
· feed them well (see Booklet No: 8):
If the animals do not get enough to eat, they do not grow, they do not gain weight. They produce little milk. They will yield little meat when they are slaughtered.
· house them well (see Booklet No 8):
Animals need a shelter in which to sleep and rest protected from rain and sun.
· protect them against diseases (see Booklet No. 9): wounds must be treated, parasites must be removed from animals, animals must be vaccinated
· make good animals breed (see Booklet No. 9):
If you choose males of good quality and females of good quality, you will have young ones of good quality.
Selective breeding will quickly improve your herd.