Monday, September 15, 2008

Environmental Factors Affecting Agricultural Production

Environmental Factors Affecting Agricultural Production
Environmental factors affecting agricultural production are:
(a) Climate factors
(b) Biotic factors
(C) Edaphic factors.

5.1 Climatic Factors
1. Temperature: This is the degree of hotness or coldness of a place at a given time. The effects on plants and animals include:
i. It affects the growth of plants.
ii. It is essential for the germination of seeds.
iii. It is necessary for photosynthesis.
iv. it affects the distribution of plant and animals
v. High temperature causes heat stress in pigs.
vi. Very low temperature is unfavourable to plants
vii. It also affects maturity of crops, that is, ripening of fruits.
viii. Temperature is measure with thermometer.
Vernalization – cultivation of plants in cold conditions. It is essential in producing Christmas plant in temperature regions.

2. Sunlight
i. It affects the rising and roosting of animals.
ii. It accounts for the opening and closing of the petals of certain flowers e.g. sunflower.
iii. Light is one of the major ingredients of photosynthesis.
iv. It is necessary for the maturity and germination of seeds.
v. Light divides plants into three photoperiods:
(a) Long day plants – require longer day light of between
121/2 – 141/2 hours of sunlight e.g. millet, sorghum.
(b) Short day plant – require shorter day light of between
81/2 – 101/2 hours of sunlight e.g. cocoa, kola, oil palm.
(c) Day – neutral plants – require equal period of day and night, that is, about 12 hours of sunlight and darkness respectively, e.g. tomato.
vi. It affects evapo-transpiration.
vii. Light is also essential for the performance and production of poultry.
viii. Absence of light leads to etiolation in which the plants’ leaves become pale and the stem elongated.
ix. Light is necessary for the productivity of crops.
It can be measured with a light meter or photometer.

3. Wind: This is air in motion.
i. It affects the level of rainfall.
ii. Wind accounts for the different seasons in the tropics. E.g.
(a) South-West trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean bring rainy season.
(b) North-East trade winds from the Sahara Desert bring dry season.
iii. Wind can either reduce or increase evaporate-transpiration.
vi. It can cause erosion.
vii. Wind can cause serious damage to our crops in form of lodging, e.g. wind storm.
viii. Wind can spread diseases by distributing air-borne spores and other pathogens.
Wind speed is measured with an anemometer, while wind directions is measured with a wind vane.

4 Rainfall
i. Supplies drinking water for animals especially desert animals.
ii. It helps to dissolve soil nutrients.
iii. It is essential for the germination of seed.
vi. Excessive rainfall is not ideal for animal production.

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