Ever since beginnings of the agriculture, cereals have provided unlimited health benefits to mankind. Cereals are primarily grown for human food and livestock feed.
In their natural form, as whole grain, cereals are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, oils and protein. Thus, cereals are grown in greater quantities because they provide more food energy worldwide than any other crop. Regarding that, they carry suitable name ‘cereals’, derived from word Ceres which is the name of a Roman goddess of harvest and agriculture.
Cereal farming varies widely in different countries and depends on several factors such as the degree of economic development, soil characteristics, the amount of rainfall and farm techniques which are applied to promote growth. Common cereals are wheat, rice, corn, rye, oats, sorghum and some of the millets.
The cultivation of all cereal crops is similar. Most are annual plants which can be grown from tropical lowlands to Siberia. No matter where it’s grown, all cereals need good soil management. One of a crucial technique for reducing production cost is crop rotation. Repeated farming on the same field or farming in monoculture leads to disease, insect pest and weed occurrence, resulting in lower yields. Suitable preculture for sowing cereals are legumes, oilseeds and fodder crops. In fact, it can be any crop which isn’t a member of the grass family and leaves the field early enough to accomplish cereals sowing on time.
Soil management also refers to tillage and soil fertility. Tillage affects soil properties, creates better soil structure and minimizes overall farming costs. To ensure a good soil fertility, soil needs to be analyzed and depending on the result, adjust an optimum amount of fertilizers. Due to high influence to nitrogen, in cereal fertilization extra caution is needed. Over application of nitrogen causes lodging, reduces yield, quality and harvest of cereals. How much nitrogen to apply, depends on the previous crop, applications of manure and mineral fertilizers and soil type. Most nitrogen fertilizers are applied before sowing.
Sowing can be done in several ways, due to the spacing of rows and seeds within row – sowing in narrow rows, sowing in rows and broadcast sowing. Depending on soil properties and climate, sowing depth varies from 2 to 10 cm.
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