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Harvesting is the process of gathering a ripe crop from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper.On smaller farms with minimal mechanization, harvesting is the most labor-intensive activity of the growing season. On large mechanized farms, harvesting utilizes the most expensive and sophisticated farm machinery, such as the combine harvester. Process automation has increased the efficiency of both the seeding and harvesting process. Specialized harvesting equipment utilizing conveyor belts to mimic gentle gripping and mass transport replaces the manual task of removing each seedling by hand. The term "harvesting" in general usage may include immediate postharvest handling, including cleaning, sorting, packing, and cooling.
The completion of harvesting marks the end of the growing season, or the growing cycle for a particular crop, and the social importance of this event makes it the focus of seasonal celebrations such as harvest festivals, found in many religions.
"Harvest", a noun, came from the Old English word hærf-est (coined before the angles moved from Angeln to the British Isles)meaning "autumn" (the season), "harvest-time", or "August". (It continues to mean "autumn" in British dialect, and "season of gathering crops" generally.) "The harvest" came to also mean the activity of reaping, gathering, and storing grain and other grown products during the autumn, and also the grain and other grown products themselves. "Harvest" was also verbified: "To harvest" means to reap, gather, and store the harvest (or the crop). People who harvest and equipment that harvests are harvesters; while they do it, they are harvesting.
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Crop failure (also known as harvest failure) is an absent or greatly diminished crop yield relative to expectation, caused by the plants being damaged, killed, or destroyed, or affected in some way that they fail to form edible fruit, seeds, or leaves in their expected abundance.
Crop failures can be caused by catastrophic events such as plant disease outbreaks (see e.g. Great Famine (Ireland)), heavy rainfall, volcanic eruptions, storms, floods, or drought, or by slow, cumulative effects of soil degradation, too-high soil salinity, erosion, desertification, usually as results of drainage, overdrafting (for irrigation), overfertilization, or overexploitation.
In history, crop failures and subsequent famines have triggered human migration, rural exodus, etc.
The proliferation of industrial monocultures, with their reduction in crop diversity and dependence on heavy use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides, has led to overexploited soils that are nearly incapable of regeneration. Over years, unsustainable farming of land degrades soil fertility and diminishes crop yield. With a steadily growing world population and local overpopulation, even slightly diminishing yields are already the equivalent to a partial harvest failure. Fertilizers obviate the need for soil regeneration in the first place, and international trade prevents local crop failures from developing into famines.
Harvesting commonly refers to grain and produce, but also has other uses: fishing and logging are also referred to as harvesting. The term harvest is also used in reference to harvesting grapes for wine. Within the context of irrigation, water harvesting refers to the collection and run-off of rainwater for agricultural or domestic uses. Instead of harvest, the term exploit is also used, as in exploiting fisheries or water resources. Energy harvesting is the process of capturing and storing energy (such as solar power, thermal energy, wind energy, salinity gradients, and kinetic energy) that would otherwise go unexploited. Body harvesting, or cadaver harvesting, is the process of collecting and preparing cadavers for anatomical study. In a similar sense, organ harvesting is the removal of tissues or organs from a donor for purposes of transplanting.
In a non-agricultural sense, the word "harvesting" is an economic principle which is known as an exit event or liquidity event. For example, if a person or business was to cash out of an ownership position in a company or eliminate their investment in a product, it is known as a harvest strategy.
Harvesting or Domestic Harvesting in Canada refers to hunting, fishing, and plant gathering by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in discussions of aboriginal or treaty rights. For example, in the Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement, "Harvesting means gathering, hunting, trapping or fishing..."Similarly, in the Tlicho Land Claim and Self Government Agreement, "'Harvesting' means, in relation to wildlife, hunting, trapping or fishing and, in relation to plants or trees, gathering or cutting."
A cereal is any grass cultivated (grown) for the edible components of its grain, composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran. The term may also refer to the resulting grain itself. Cereal grain crops are grown in greater quantities and provide more food energy worldwide than any other type of crop and are therefore staple crops. Edible grains from other plant families, such as buckwheat (Polygonaceae), quinoa (Amaranthaceae) and chia (Lamiaceae), are referred to as pseudocereals.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to agriculture:
Agronomy is the science and technology of producing and using plants in agriculture for food, fuel, fiber, and land restoration. It is both a humanitarian career and a scientific one. Agronomy has come to encompass work in the areas of plant genetics, plant physiology, meteorology, and soil science. It is the application of a combination of sciences like biology, chemistry, economics, ecology, earth science, and genetics. Agronomists of today are involved with many issues, including producing food, creating healthier food, managing the environmental impact of agriculture, distribution of agriculture, and extracting energy from plants. Agronomists often specialise in areas such as crop rotation, irrigation and drainage, plant breeding, plant physiology, soil classification, soil fertility, weed control, and insect and pest control.
The modern combine harvester, or simply combine, is a versatile machine designed to efficiently harvest a variety of grain crops. The name derives from its combining three separate harvesting operations—reaping, threshing, and winnowing—into a single process. Among the crops harvested with a combine are wheat, oats, rye, barley, corn (maize), sorghum, soybeans, flax (linseed), sunflowers and canola. The separated straw, left lying on the field, comprises the stems and any remaining leaves of the crop with limited nutrients left in it: the straw is then either chopped, spread on the field and ploughed back in or baled for bedding and limited-feed for livestock.
A reaper is a farm implement or person that reaps crops at harvest when they are ripe. Usually the crop involved is a cereal grass. The first documented reaping machines were Gallic reaper that was used in modern-day France during Roman times. The Gallic reaper involved a comb which collected the heads, with an operator knocking the grain into a box for later threshing.
The Land Institute is a non-profit research, education, and policy organization dedicated to sustainable agriculture based in Salina, Kansas, United States. Their goal is to develop an agricultural system based on perennial crops that "has the ecological stability of the prairie and a grain yield comparable to that from annual crops". The organization has trademarked Kernza perennial grain, an intermediate wheatgrass grain in development.
Panicum virgatum, commonly known as switchgrass, is a perennial warm season bunchgrass native to North America, where it occurs naturally from 55°N latitude in Canada southwards into the United States and Mexico. Switchgrass is one of the dominant species of the central North American tallgrass prairie and can be found in remnant prairies, in native grass pastures, and naturalized along roadsides. It is used primarily for soil conservation, forage production, game cover, as an ornamental grass, in phytoremediation projects, fiber, electricity, heat production, for biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and more recently as a biomass crop for ethanol and butanol.
A swather, or windrower, is a farm implement that cuts hay or small grain crops and forms them into a windrow. "Swather" is predominantly the North American term for these machines. In Australia and other parts of the world, they are called "windrowers". They aid harvesting by speeding up the process of drying the crop down to a moisture content suitable for harvesting and storage.
NAICS sector 11 is a sub-classification of economic activity that covers agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) system in Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Mechanised agriculture is the process of using agricultural machinery to mechanise the work of agriculture, greatly increasing farm worker productivity. In modern times, powered machinery has replaced many farm jobs formerly carried out by manual labour or by working animals such as oxen, horses and mules.
In agriculture, crop yield refers to both the measure of the yield of a crop per unit area of land cultivation, and the seed generation of the plant itself.
Agriculture in Mongolia constitutes over 10% of Mongolia's annual Gross domestic product and employs one-third of the labor force. However, the high altitude, extreme fluctuation in temperature, long winters, and low precipitation provides limited potential for agricultural development. The growing season is only 95 – 110 days. Because of Mongolia's harsh climate, it is unsuited to most cultivation. Only 1% of the arable land in Mongolia is cultivated with crops, amounting to 1,322,000 hectares in 1998. The agriculture sector therefore remains heavily focused on nomadic animal husbandry with 75% of the land allocated to pasture, and cropping only employing 3% of the population. Crops produced in Mongolia include corn, wheat, barley, and potatoes. Animals raised commercially in Mongolia include sheep, goats, cattle, horses, camels, and pigs. They are raised primarily for their meat, although goats are valued for their hair which can be used to produce cashmere.
Commercial sorghum is the cultivation and commercial exploitation of species of grasses within the genus Sorghum. These plants are used for grain, fibre and fodder. The plants are cultivated in warmer climates worldwide. Commercial Sorghum species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and Asia.
Paspalum scrobiculatum, commonly called Kodo millet or Koda millet,, is an annual grain that is grown primarily in Nepal (not to confuse with Kodo and also in the India,Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and in West Africa from where it originated. It is grown as a minor crop in most of these areas, with the exception of the Deccan plateau in India where it is grown as a major food source. It is a very hardy crop that is drought tolerant and can survive on marginal soils where other crops may not survive, and can supply 450–900 kg of grain per hectare Kodo millet has large potential to provide nourishing food to subsistence farmers in Africa and elsewhere.
Agricultural machinery is machinery used in farming or other agriculture. There are many types of such equipment, from hand tools and power tools to tractors and the countless kinds of farm implements that they tow or operate. Diverse arrays of equipment are used in both organic and nonorganic farming. Especially since the advent of mechanised agriculture, agricultural machinery is an indispensable part of how the world is fed.
Gordie C. Hanna was a University of California-Davis agronomy professor who helped revolutionize the tomato-growing industry. He won the John Scott Award in 1976 for his development of a tomato variety capable of being machine-harvested. The variety came to be known as the "square tomato," being slightly blockier, preventing it from rolling off conveyor belts.
Indigenous horticulture is practised in various ways across all inhabited continents. Indigenous refers to the native peoples of a given area and horticulture is the practice of small-scale intercropping.
The combine grain yield monitor is a device coupled with other sensors to calculate and record the crop yield or grain yield as a modern-day combine harvester operates. Yield monitors are a part of the precision agriculture products available to producers today that provide producers with the tools to reduce costs, increase yields, and increase efficiency. The present day grain yield monitor is designed to measure the harvested grain mass flow, moisture content, and speed to determine total grain harvested. In most cases today this is coupled with global positioning system to record yield and other spatially variable information across a field. This allows for the creation of a grain yield map which provides information on spatial variability and supports management decisions for producers.
Agriculture on the prehistoric Great Plains describes the agriculture of the Indian peoples of the Great Plains of the United States and southern Canada in the Pre-Columbian era and before extensive contact with European explorers, which in most areas occurred by 1750. The principal crops grown by Indian farmers were maize (corn), beans, and squash, including pumpkins. Sunflowers, goosefoot, tobacco, gourds, and plums, were also grown.
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.
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