Agriculture is the best optional subject for UPSC because of its limited syllabus, and ability to relate to other streams like Botany and Zoology. However, it is still a technical subject and requires an extensive understanding of the Agriculture UPSC syllabus to choose the best books for the same.
What is the Agriculture UPSC Syllabus?
To get to the question “Which book source is required for Agriculture in the UPSC exam?”, one should have an ample understanding of the Agriculture UPSC syllabus. Since the Mains consist of two papers, i.e. Paper 1 and Paper 2 respectively, the division of the Agriculture books for UPSC should be according to the syllabus of these two papers.
Paper 1 of Agriculture Optional focuses on the farm practices and the basic concepts of agriculture. It also compromises related topics of the General Studies paper, making it easier for the aspirants. However, Paper 2 is comparatively harder because of the technical concepts of agriculture like Cell Theory and Cell structure, requiring a deep understanding of UPSC’s best book on agriculture.
How to Choose Best Book Sources for Agriculture Optional UPSC?
Understanding the Pattern
The first step towards choosing the resources should be the understanding of the pattern of the optional papers. However, a mere look at some previous papers will not provide the required understanding. Hence, to achieve a deeper understanding of the pattern, one should take at least ten years of previous years’ papers and then divide the questions in them into the following categories:
- Which section in a particular topic is important?
- Which questions get repeated every year?
- Which questions have never been asked?
- What are the expected questions for this year?
Sorting Out the Resources
Now that you have sorted out all the relevant topics by understanding the previous years’ papers, you can note down the exact sources for each topic that you find most repeated, easy to read, remember and write along with the best understanding.
The step of sorting out the resources is very important because of the abundance of resources available to you that often cause wastage of time and efforts if not sorted out wisely. Therefore, you must select one basic material for each topic, and the others can be read out once as reference material.
What are the Best Books for Agriculture Optional UPSC?
Since the optional papers have a constant pattern of specific topics, one can cover different topics related to each paper. In this way, an aspirant can further divide his book list in accordance with the Paper 1 syllabus and Paper 2 syllabus of the optional examination of UPSC Mains.
Booklist for Paper 1 of Agriculture Optional
Here is a list of topics covered in Paper 1 along with their respective sources:
- Ecology: This topic has been more prevalent in the pattern from the last two-three years and is now one of the most repeated topics. It usually consists of topics like environmental pollution and ecological conservation.
Source: Current affairs from The Hindu: Survey of Indian Agriculture and Special Issues of Agriculture.
- Agronomy: This topic encompasses questions related to crop yielding, cropping patterns, organic farming, high yielding farming and precision farming. Questions related to weed science or weed control have been the most repeated questions within this topic.
Source: BSc agriculture notes or the book Principles of Agronomy by T. Yellamanda Reddy and G.H. Sankara Reddy.
- Soil Science: The questions related to soil composition and constitutes are covered in soil science. It has been one of the most static parts of the paper 1 syllabus and hence, has to be covered without any avoidance.
Source: book Soil Science by Dilip Kumar Das.
- Soil and Water Conservation: The topics here are mostly covered from current affairs and along with G.S paper preparation.
Source: Current affairs
- Agriculture Economics and Extension:
Source: Current affairs
Booklist for Paper 2 of Agriculture Optional:
While Paper 1 is general, Paper 2, on the other hand, comprises more of technical and static topics. The following is the list of the most repeated topics of Paper 2 along with their sources:
- Cell Biology: For cell biology, questions related to genetics are more common, and it can be easily be prepared with Tamil Nadu Agriculture UPSC notes or reference books for genetics.
Sources: Tamil Nadu agriculture UPSC notes and the book Genetics by B.D Singh
- Breeding: Genetics by B.D Singh or Elements of Genetics by Phundan Singh
- Crop Physiology: The questions related to this topic are general and straightforward. However, the topics require more writing and with technical terms only.
Source: Book Plant Physiology by V.K Jain
- Seed Technology: Current data or current affairs related to contemporary seed technology is important in this case.
Source: Current affairs
- Plant Protection: Plant Physiology by B.K Singha and Pandey S.N, Elements of Economic Entomology by B. Vasantharaj David
- Horticulture and Landscaping: Introduction to Horticulture by N. Kumar
- Food Science: This is considered one of the most scoring parts; hence, if you struggle with genetics, a deeper understanding of this topic can help you score well. This topic deals with different nutrition types, nutrition sources and nutritional deficiency diseases.
The topic-wise understanding of Paper 1 and Paper 2 of UPSC’s optional paper can help sort out the best materials required for the preparation. This will help compile a relevant list of books and sources, and hence, the UPSC preparation will become more concise with an ample amount of time for revision and note-making. UPSC Pathshala has numerous blogs & articles that will help you as an aspirant to clear doubts about various subjects. Keep reading our blogs for more UPSC specific content.