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CLASSIFICATION AND CHOICE
OF FIELD CROPS. 1. Agriculture.—The word agriculture comes from the two Latin words ager,' meaning field, and cultura, meaning cultiva. tion. The strict meaning of the word is, therefore, the cultivation of the field. The sense in which the word is used, however, is quite varied. In its widest sense Agriculture consists in the production of plants and animals useful to man. It thus includes horticulture, forestry and animal husbandry. There are also certain manufacturing industries so closely and intimately connected with the production of the plants and animais that they are often included in agriculture, such as butter making, cheese making, sugar making, etc.
2. Horticulture.—The word horticulture comes from the two Latin words hortus, meaning enclosure, yard or garden, and cultura, meaning cultivation. Horticulture thus means the cultivation of the garden. The use of the word in this sense as well as the use of the word agriculture in the restricted sense of field agriculture is due to the character of Roman Husbandry during the time of the Roman Empire. The farm homestead in Roman agriculture was known as the “Villa.” This farm steading was often an elaborate affair, including many buildings, and enclosures for the growth of fruits and vegetables. Outside the villa lay the extensive unenclosed areas on which were raised such crops as wheat, barley and some of the legumes. The tillage of unenclosed areas was known as agriculture, while the growth of the crops in the enclosed area was
I The word acre has the same derivation and originally meant a field of arable or pasture land. The acre was limited to its present definite quantity by statutes of Edward I, Edward III, and Henry VIII.
known as horticulture. In American agriculture, with the enclosure of all farm lands and large production of animals on these enclosed areas, on the one hand, and the extension of the growth of fruits and vegetables to large areas, on the other hand, these distinctions somewhat disappear. In general, horticulture consists in the production of fruits and vegetables.
3. Agronomy.—Comes from two Greek words meaning the use of the fields. Agronomy as here used is restricted to the theory and practice of the production of farm crops. The object in plant production is to adapt the environment to the anatomy and physiology of the plant under cultivation with a view to securing crops which are best suited to the uses of man or the domestic animals. A full understanding of the means of adapting the environment to the development of the plant requires not only a knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of plants, but it requires a knowledge of the air and soil and their means of modification. A study of plant physiology and a study of soils should, therefore, precede alike the study of either field or horticultural crops. Agronomy differs from botany in that botany deals with plants in the natural relationships and environments, while agronomy deals with man's relationship to plants.
4. Field Crops. — Under this head are generally included those crops that are cultivated on a somewhat extensive scale and are adapted to extensive rather than intensive methods of culture. There are exceptions to this rule. Sugar beets are classed with field crops, although the methods of culture are somewhat intensive, while all varieties of fruit are considered horticultural crops, although some kinds are now grown in large orchards and under conditions entirely removed from what was the case when the term horticulture was first applied.
5. Number of Cultivated Species.—De Candolle has recog nized 198 species of cultivated plants native to the old world and forty-seven species of American origin, while there are