527 - Agriculture: Principles and Practices

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Section 1: General Farm Structures and Machinery and Agricultural Economics


The importance of agriculture to man generally and its role in the economy of Uganda, emphasizing that agriculture is a business.

Principle of Land Use

Various forms of land use: agriculture, forestry, wildlife conservation with respect to physical, economic and social factors, commercialization communication and marketing. Crop and livestock distribution in relation to ecological zones. Important local systems, including shifting cultivation and nomadic herding. Rates of population increase, population density and pressure on the land.


Temperature, evaporation, evapotranspiration, humidity, wind; causes and measurement of rainfall; rainfall distribution, effectiveness, reliability and rainfall intensity. The water cycle.

Farm Structures

(a) Fencing: Introduction of the materials available: their various advantages and disadvantages. Treatment of wood materials and fence posts. Fencing practice. Different types of fencing for differing circumstances and different animals. Economics of small-holding enclosure; use of live fencing materials.

(b) Animal Handling Layouts: Crushes, spray races and dips.

(c) Farm Buildings: Use of materials: wood, concrete, concrete blocks, metal, stone, brick, earth, bamboo and thatch. Methods of making earth blocks, concrete blocks, concrete floors and roof trusses. Thatching. Site selection and preparation. Simple designs of buildings suitable for crop stores, poultry and dairy herd.

(d) Farm Water Supplies: Sources, storage, distribution and maintenance.

Farm Machinery

(a) Farm Tools: Care, maintenance and proper use of common hand tools for wood-working, cultivating and spraying. Various uses of ropes.

(b) Engines: Four-cycle principle: The parts of an engine and their functions. Major differences between a petrol and diesel engine. Normal procedures; preventive maintenance. The air supply system, how and when to service an air cleaner. The fuel system: importance of clean fuel, fuel filters. Lubrication systems: functions of oil. The electrical system: care of the battery. Safety precautions.

(c) Machinery: Seeders, mills, winnowers and threshers. And at least one from the following: - Four-wheeled tractor, plough and trailer. - Two-wheeled tractor, plough and cultivator attachments. - Ox-drawn plough, toolbar and attachments.

Agricultural Economics

(a) Principles of Farm Economics: Practical applications of the law of supply and demand and the law of diminishing returns. Opportunity costs. Risks and uncertainties. Practical examples of how to choose and combine farm enterprises in relation to environmental and marketing conditions and available resources. Efficiency standards for farm enterprises.

(b) Farm Records: Purpose of records. Types of records kept: expenditure, income, balance sheets, profit and loss accounts and production records. Sample record sheets (local or school farm records are suitable).

(c) Agricultural Credit: Purposes, sources, types, establishment of credit interest rates, repayment policies, banks.

(d) Land Tenure: Important local systems of tenure, fragmentation and consolidation. How to acquire land for farming.

(e) Settlement and Resettlement: Organization and effect of settlement policies, types of settlement schemes.

(f) Farming Organization: Cooperatives: principles, organization, types, factors necessary for success. Other organizations: Government extension training centers and research stations, farmers' organizations and commercial organizations.

Section 2: Crop Production


(a) Soil Types and Classification:

- Soil formation. Classification of soils by physical characteristics; soil profile; soil constituents; soil structure properties for clay, loam and sandy soils. Humus.

(b) Soil Fertility:

- Soil sampling, simple tests for soil water and organic matter and for pH using a commercial indicator, nitrogen and phosphorous deficiencies as show by growing crops. Availability of plant nutrients, leaching and the importance and preservation of organic matter. Methods of making and using manures, composts and mulches. Carbon and nitrogen cycles and how they affect fertility. Symbiotic and free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Organic and inorganic fertilizers.

(c) Soil and Water Conservation:

- Soil erosion: causes and effects. Basic importance of conservation to soil fertility. Various methods used to conserve soils: laying out and constructing filter strips, bench terraces, bunds, cut-off drains, grassed water ways contours and ridges. Use of cropping systems as control measures: rotations, special grasses and mulches; forests. Importance of trees in soil and water conservation; identification of locally important trees and their value for shade and farm timber.

Crop Production

(a) Principles of Cultivation:

- Reclamation of land: clearing, stumping, leveling, contour layout and planning of fields. Primary cultivation and choce of correct tools at the proper time and worked at the proper depth. Subsequent cultivations and choice of the correct tools particularly with respect to the retention of good soil structure and minimizing loss of soil moisture. Planting and weeding. Drainage and irrigation. Discussion of hand tillage tools, animal and mechanical power, depending on the slope of land and economic factors involved.

(b) Crops:

- Group 1 (Cereals)

- Group 2 (Legumes)

- Group 3 (Perennials)

- Group 4 (Field Crops)

- Group 5 (Root Crops)

- Group 6 (Vegetables)

- Group 7 (Fruits)

  • At least one crop from each of the groups 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 and two from group 3 should be studied in detail. Choice of crops in relation to ecology, human nutrition and profitability crop rotations. For each crop studied, special attention should be paid to the following:

- Sources of seed and planting material, types and varieties. Methods of propagation.

- Seed purity and germination testing.

- Seed storage.

- Nursery layouts and management where applicable.

- Any special seed-bed preparations.

- Suitable soils and climate.

- Cultural practices of planting, spacing, weed control, fertilizer use and harvesting.

- Major pests and diseases and their control.

- Economic aspects.

- Processing, storage and marketing.

Grass and Legumes Management

Identification and study of the main grasses and legumes occurring in pastures.

Group 1 (Grasses): Elephant grass, Kikuyu grass, Rhodes grass, Guinea grass, Signal grass, Jaragua grass, Nandi Sectaria.

Group 2 (Legumes): Gylcine, Stylo, greenleaf desmodium, Silverleaf Desmodium, Dentro, Lucerne, clovers, Siratro.

  • At least two from each group should be studied in detail. Methods of pasture improvement. Establishment of intensive pastures and their exploitation. Suitable grass legume mixtures. Fertilizer use. Conservation: hay and silage. The place of the grass ley in mixed husbandry. Fodder crops, including elephant grass.

Crop Improvement

General principles of improvement by selection and breeding for both annual and perennial crops.


Their importance in agriculture. Identification of major weeds, both annual and perennial.

(a) Grass

- Group 1 (Perennials)

- Group 2 (Annuals)

(b) Sedges

- Group 3: Nutgrass

(c) Broad-Leaved Weeds

- Group 4 (Perennials)

- Group 5 (Annuals)

  • At least one from each group should be studied in detail. Basic principles and economics of weed control:

- Cultural

- Mechanical

- Chemical: Selective and/or Non-selective

Plant Diseases and Pests

A simple account of diseases caused by fungi, bacteria and viruses. Nutrient deficiencies and nematodes affecting crops. The nature of the damage, methods of transmission and common methods of control. Pests of major crop plants and stored products, their types and importance, including study of life cycles of two major local insect pests: principles and methods of pest control. Safety precautions in the use of chemicals. The economics of control measures.

Section 3: Animal Production

General Management of Livestock Detailed study of the management and care of at least one ruminant, one non-ruminant and poultry including their digestive and reproductive systems. Major breeds, both exotic and local, including desirable characteristics of each breed. Improvement of local and exotic breeds by selection, breeding and artificial insemination. Food requirements and nutrition, production and maintenance rations. Rearing of young stock. Qualities of a good stock man.

(A) Animal Products The production and marketing of high-quality livestock products: milk, milk products, meat, eggs, hides and skins. Storage of products.

(B) Animal Health

Animal Diseases:

- Group 1 (Tick-borne)

- Group 2 (Protozoan)

- Group 3 (Bacterial)

- Group 4 (Viral)

  • At least two from each group should be studied in detail. Detailed study of the diseases as listed above with particular reference to causes, symptoms and prevention. A study of internal and external parasites, including the following: round worms, tapeworms, liver-fluke, ticks, mites and lice. Signs of ill health; use of vaccines and sera, antibiotics and disinfectants; how contagious diseases are spread, general hygiene, isolation of sick animals, quarantine, veterinary services available locally.