[[File:040719 172 dorset marnhull2.jpg|upright=1.25|thumb|Modern mechanised 3rd ed. "arable, adj. and n." Oxford University Press (Oxford), 2013.</ref> Alternatively, for the purposes of agricultural statistics, the term often has a more precise definition: "Arable land is the land under temporary agricultural crops (multiple-cropped areas are counted only once), temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow (less than five years). The abandoned land resulting from shifting cultivation is not included in this category. Data for 'Arable land' are not meant to indicate the amount of land that is potentially cultivable." A more concise definition appearing in the Eurostat glossary similarly refers to actual rather than potential uses: "land worked (ploughed or tilled) regularly, generally under a system of crop rotation".
Non-arable land can sometimes be converted to arable land through methods such as loosening and tilling (breaking up) of the soil, though in more extreme cases the degree of modification required to make certain types of land arable can be prohibitively expensive.In Britain, arable land has traditionally been contrasted with pasturable land such as heaths, which could be used for sheep-rearing but not as farmland.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in the year 2013, the world's arable land amounted to 1,407 million hectares, out of a total of 4,924 million hectares of land used for agriculture.
|Antigua and Barbuda||0.044|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||0.264|
|British Virgin Islands||0.034|
|Central African Republic||0.382|
|Congo, Dem. Rep.||0.098|
|Egypt, Arab Rep.||0.031|
|Hong Kong SAR, China||0.000|
|Iran, Islamic Rep.||0.193|
|Isle of Man||0.253|
|Korea, Dem. People's Rep.||0.094|
|Macao SAR, China|
|Micronesia, Fed. Sts.||0.019|
|Northern Mariana Islands||0.019|
|Papua New Guinea||0.041|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||0.048|
|Sint Maarten (Dutch part)|
|St. Kitts and Nevis||0.092|
|St. Martin (French part)|
|St. Vincent and the Grenadines||0.046|
|Syrian Arab Republic||0.241|
|Trinidad and Tobago||0.019|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||0.030|
|United Arab Emirates||0.004|
|Virgin Islands (U.S.)||0.010|
|West Bank and Gaza||0.011|
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Agricultural land that is not arable according to the FAO definition above includes:
Other non-arable land includes land that is not suitable for any agricultural use. Land that is not arable, in the sense of lacking capability or suitability for cultivation for crop production, has one or more limitations – a lack of sufficient fresh water for irrigation, stoniness, steepness, adverse climate, excessive wetness with impracticality of drainage, and/or excessive salts, among others.Although such limitations may preclude cultivation, and some will in some cases preclude any agricultural use, large areas unsuitable for cultivation may still be agriculturally productive. For example, US NRCS statistics indicate that about 59 percent of US non-federal pasture and unforested rangeland is unsuitable for cultivation, yet such land has value for grazing of livestock. In British Columbia, Canada, 41 percent of the provincial Agricultural Land Reserve area is unsuitable for production of cultivated crops, but is suitable for uncultivated production of forage usable by grazing livestock. Similar examples can be found in many rangeland areas elsewhere.
Land incapable of being cultivated for production of crops can sometimes be converted to arable land. New arable land makes more food, and can reduce starvation. This outcome also makes a country more self-sufficient and politically independent, because food importation is reduced. Making non-arable land arable often involves digging new irrigation canals and new wells, aqueducts, desalination plants, planting trees for shade in the desert, hydroponics, fertilizer, nitrogen fertilizer, pesticides, reverse osmosis water processors, PET film insulation or other insulation against heat and cold, digging ditches and hills for protection against the wind, and installing greenhouses with internal light and heat for protection against the cold outside and to provide light in cloudy areas. Such modifications are often prohibitively expensive. An alternative is the seawater greenhouse, which desalinates water through evaporation and condensation using solar energy as the only energy input. This technology is optimized to grow crops on desert land close to the sea.
(Note: The use of artifices does not make land arable. Rock still remains rock, and shallow less than 6 feet turnable soil is still not considered toilable. The use of artifice is an open-air none recycled water hydroponics relationship.[ clarification needed ] The below described circumstances are not in perspective, have limited duration, and have a tendency to accumulate trace materials in soil that either there or elsewhere cause deoxygenation. The use of vast amounts of fertilizer may have unintended consequences for the environment by devastating rivers, waterways, and river endings through the accumulation of non-degradable toxins and nitrogen-bearing molecules that remove oxygen and cause non-aerobic processes to form.)
Examples of infertile non-arable land being turned into fertile arable land include:
Examples of fertile arable land being turned into infertile land include:
Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture, which is a method of growing plants without soil, by instead using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. Terrestrial plants may be grown with only their roots exposed to the nutritious liquid, or the roots may be physically supported by an inert medium such as perlite, gravel, or other substrates. Despite inert media, roots can cause changes of the rhizosphere pH and root exudates can impact the rhizosphere biology.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to agriculture:
Intensive agriculture, also known as intensive farming and industrial agriculture, is a type of agriculture, both of crop plants and of animals, with higher levels of input and output per cubic unit of agricultural land area. It is characterized by a low fallow ratio, higher use of inputs such as capital and labour, and higher crop yields per unit land area.
Sustainable agriculture is farming in sustainable ways, which means meeting society's present food and textile needs, without compromising the ability for current or future generations to meet their needs. It can be based on an understanding of ecosystem services. There are many methods to increase the sustainability of agriculture. When developing agriculture within sustainable food systems, it is important to develop flexible business process and farming practices.
In agriculture, rotational grazing, as opposed to continuous grazing, describes many systems of pasturing, whereby livestock are moved to portions of the pasture, called paddocks, while the other portions rest. Each paddock must provide all the needs of the livestock, such as food, water and sometimes shade and shelter. The approach often produces lower outputs than more intensive animal farming operations, but requires lower inputs, and therefore sometimes produces higher net farm income per animal.
Soil fertility refers to the ability of soil to sustain agricultural plant growth, i.e. to provide plant habitat and result in sustained and consistent yields of high quality. A fertile soil has the following properties:
Pastoral farming is aimed at producing livestock, rather than growing crops. Examples include dairy farming, raising beef cattle, and raising sheep for wool. In contrast, arable farming concentrates on crops rather than livestock. Finally, Mixed farming incorporates livestock and crops on a single farm. Some mixed farmers grow crops purely as fodder for their livestock; some crop farmers grow fodder and sell and in some cases pastoralists. Pastoral farming is a non-nomadic form of pastoralism in which the livestock farmer has some form of ownership of the land used, giving the farmer more economic incentive to improve the land. Unlike other pastoral systems, pastoral farmers are sedentary and do not change locations in search for fresh resources. Rather, pastoral farmers adjust their pastures to fit the needs of their animals. Improvements include drainage, stock tanks, irrigation and sowing clover.
The Food and Agriculture Organization Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT) website disseminates statistical data collected and maintained by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). FAOSTAT data are provided as a time-series from 1961 in most domains for 245 countries in English, Spanish and French.
Agriculture in Central Asia provides a brief regional overview of agriculture in the five contiguous states of former Soviet Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Two other countries that are sometimes classified as Central Asian – Afghanistan and Mongolia – are not included in this overview because of their substantially different background.
Intensive crop farming is a modern form of farming that refers to the industrialized production of crops. Intensive crop farming's methods include innovation in agricultural machinery, farming methods, genetic engineering technology, techniques for achieving economies of scale in production, the creation of new markets for consumption, patent protection of genetic information, and global trade. These methods are widespread in developed nations.
Benin is predominantly a rural society, and agriculture in Benin supports more than 70% of the population. Agriculture contributes around 35% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and 80% of export income. While the Government of Benin (GOB) aims to diversify its agricultural production, Benin remains underdeveloped, and its economy is underpinned by subsistence agriculture. Approximately 93% of total agricultural production goes into food production. The proportion of the population living in poverty is about 35.2%, with more rural households in poverty (38.4%) than urban households (29.8%). 36% of households depend solely upon agricultural (crop) production for income, and another 30% depend on crop production, livestock, or fishing for income.
Agricultural land is typically land devoted to agriculture, the systematic and controlled use of other forms of life—particularly the rearing of livestock and production of crops—to produce food for humans. It is thus generally synonymous with both farmland or cropland, as well as pasture or rangeland.
Armenia has 2.1 million hectares of agricultural land, 72% of the country's land area. Most of this, however, is mountain pastures, and cultivable land is 480,000 hectares, or 16% of the country's area. In 2006, 46% of the work force was employed in agriculture, and agriculture contributed 21% of the country's GDP. In 1991 Armenia imported about 65 percent of its food.
Agriculture in Jordan contributed substantially to the economy at the time of Jordan's independence, but it subsequently suffered a decades-long steady decline. In the early 1950s, agriculture constituted almost 40 percent of GNP; on the eve of the June 1967 War, it was 17 percent.
Desert greening is the process of man-made reclamation of deserts for ecological reasons (biodiversity), farming and forestry, but also for reclamation of natural water systems and other ecological systems that support life. The term "desert greening" is intended to apply to both cold and hot arid and semi-arid deserts. It does not apply to ice capped or permafrost regions. Desert greening has the potential to help solve global water, energy, and food crises. It pertains to roughly 32 million square kilometres of land.
Soil management is the application of operations, practices, and treatments to protect soil and enhance its performance. It includes soil conservation, soil amendment, and optimal soil health. In agriculture, some amount of soil management is needed both in nonorganic and organic types to prevent agricultural land from becoming poorly productive over decades. Organic farming in particular emphasizes optimal soil management, because it uses soil health as the exclusive or nearly exclusive source of its fertilization and pest control.
Organic hydroponics is a hydroponics culture system which is managed based on organic agriculture concepts. Most studies have focused on use of organic fertilizer. Conventional hydroponics have a difficult time using organic compounds as fertilizer.
Convertible husbandry, also known as alternate husbandry or up-and-down husbandry, is a method of farming whereby strips of arable farmland were temporarily converted into grass pasture, known as leys. These remained under grass for up to 10 years before being ploughed under again, while some eventually became permanent pasturage. It was a process used during the 16th century through the 19th century by "which a higher proportion of land was used to support increasing numbers of livestock in many parts of England." Its adoption was an important component of the British Agricultural Revolution.
Cocoyam is a tuberous root crop cultivated in many regions of South Asia. Cocoyams share many of the same nutritional and agricultural characteristics as potatoes and other root crops such as cassava and yams.
This glossary of agriculture is a list of definitions of terms and concepts used in agriculture, its sub-disciplines, and related fields. For other glossaries relevant to agricultural science, see Glossary of biology, Glossary of ecology, and Glossary of botany.