Primitive man lived on wild game, leaves, roots, seeds, berries, and fruits. As the population increased, the food supply was always sufficiently stable or plentiful to supply his needs. Crops production began when domestication of plants became essential to supplement natural supplies. The art of crop production . is older than civilization, and its essential features have remained almost unchanged since the dawn of history. These features include (a) gathering and preserving the seed of the desired crop plants, (b) destroying other kinds of vegetation growing on the land, (c) stirring the soil to form a seedbed, (d) planting the seed when the season and weather are right as shown by past
experience, (e) destroying weeds, (f) protecting the crop from natural enemies; and (g) gathering, processing, and storing the products.
The early husbandman cultivated a limited number of crops, the cereals being among ‘the first to be grown in most parts of the world. The same crop often was produced continuously on a field until low yields necessitated to a new land. This temporary abandonment of seeming partly worn-out land has been almost universal in the history of agriculture. This is still common in parts of Africa. The primitive husbandman removed by hand the destructive insects in his fields, and appeased the gods or practiced mystic rites to drive away the evil spirits he believed to be the cause of plant diseases. With advancing civilization, materials such as, sulfur, brine, ashes, whitewash, soap and vinegar were applied to plants to suppress diseases or insects, Romans of the first century AD intertilled many crops with iron hand knives. Intertillage with animal power was advocated in England in the 17th century.
The value of lime, marl, manures, and green manures for the maintenance of soil productivity was recognized 2000 years ago. Books on agriculture written by the Romans of about the first century A.D. describe the growing of common crops, including wheat, barley, clover, and alfalfa by procedures, very similar to those in use today except that more of the
work was done by hand and the farm implements then used were crude.
The old art of crop production still predominates in farm practice throughout the world. Plant pathologists and entomologists have found ways to control plant diseases and insect pests, more effectively. Chemists and agronomists have found supplements for the manure and ashes formerly used for fertilizers. Rotations perhaps are slightly improved. Many new crop varieties have been introduced.
Key Referene : General agriculture By Muhammad Akhtar Abbas