Understanding how land is prepared for agriculture is an essential part of understanding the agricultural industry. Whether you’re just getting started in farming or have been doing it for years, you’ll want to understand what goes into preparing land for agriculture so that you can make sure your crop is healthy and thriving.
Land preparation includes a number of steps. Before any crops are planted, the land needs to be cleared, plowed, and fertilized. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months depending on the size of the project and the tools being used. After this initial clearing process has been completed, farmers will begin seeding their crops. This step usually takes place in springtime or early summer when temperatures are warm enough to support plant growth but not so hot as to harm the plant’s roots or leaves with too much sun exposure.
What Is Land Preparation In Agriculture?
Land preparation in agriculture is the process of clearing, breaking up, and otherwise preparing land for cultivation. Simply put, Land preparation involves making the soil ready for planting; The soil can be prepared in many ways, including plowing, harrowing, and tilling. This can be done with a variety of tools, including hand tools such as hoes and plows, as well as heavy machinery like tractors. Land preparation is a very important practice to enhance good yield from crops grown. It is one of the measures used to control crop diseases and pest invasion.
Land preparation can be done manually or with machineries such as bulldozers and tractors. Manual methods include digging up stones and roots with shovels and picking out weeds by hand with a hoe or scuffle hoe. It is also known as Tillage practice and includes all operations used for the purpose of modifying soil characteristics. It cost about 30% of the total cost of cultivation.
The main objective of land preparation is to break up soil clods, remove stones and weeds, incorporate fertilizer, and adjust the moisture content. Land preparation helps to improve soil aeration and drainage as well as increase seedbed quality. The final result of good land preparation is healthier crops with higher yields.
Land Preparation Techniques in Agriculture
There are three main techniques to carry out tillage practice, they are:
1. Conventional tillage practice:
This is the use of mechanical farm implements for the land preparation of the farm. It involves plowing otherwise called primary tillage and harrowing also called secondary tillage.
In plowing, the soil is lacerated, lifted, shattered, twisted, and disintegrated. The weeds and stubble are incorporated into the soil to add fertility to the soil. The depth of the tillage varies from 10-30 cm. The implements used are moldboard plow, disc plow, subsoil plow, and chisel plow, they are usually powered by tractors or draft animals like cattle, donkeys, etc.
After the primary tillage comes the secondary tillage, this practice makes the soil finer and makes it fit for planting. In this practice, large lumps of soil produced during plowing are broken into finer particles to make an even soil surface for planting seeds and seedbed preparation. It involves harrowing, pulverizing, raking, and leveling large lumps of soil. The implements used are cultivators, harrows, clod crushers, and leveling implements. They are powered by the use of tractors or draft animals. It makes the soil well-aerated and provides a good rooting medium for the plant. Also, the soil is well-drained, it also gives a weed-free seedbed, incorporates fertilizer, and improves soil conditions.
However, the soil is prone to erosion as plowing removes the vegetation cover and exposes the soil to rainfall, wind, and overland flow. The trampling of the implements or draft animals on the soil induces soil compaction which affects, which negatively, soil aeration, water infiltration, and microbial proliferation.
2. Minimum tillage practice:
As the name implies, minimum tillage is the little manipulation of the soil. It is otherwise referred to as the traditional tillage method. It is not as sophisticated and technical as conventional tillage. It involves the use of cutlass to slash weeds and vegetation regrowth on the farm, the little manipulation is done with the how and rake. The soil is disturbed to a minimum extent and the soil structure is not fully disintegrated, the stubble is used as mulching material to converse soil moisture. It is cost-effective and saves time, also the decomposition of the weed and debris add nutrients to the soil. However, labor shortages can make it expensive and tedious.
3. Zero tillage practice:
Zero tillage otherwise called no-tillage is a simplified form of minimum tillage. It involves only the opening of a narrow strip 2-3cm wide or a hole in the ground for seed or seedling placement. There is no pre-planting seedbed preparation. Weeds are taken care of with the use of herbicides and cutlass without disturbing the land. The crop is then planted directly without tilling or plowing the soil, this method is highly effective under sloppy lands where soil and water erosion are heavy.
In this method, the soil structure is not disturbed and all soil microorganisms remain intact, also the soil is not prone to erosion and the cost of production is reduced. However, the use of chemicals in this tillage technique makes the cost of production high because of the expensive prices of chemicals and sometimes unavailable. Good tillage practice is one of the prerequisites to having a good yield.
Importance Of Land Preparation In Agriculture
Land preparation is important because it helps in many ways:
-Land preparation allows farmers to grow more crops in an area since they have removed all unwanted plants and weeds from their fields which would have taken away nutrients from their crops.
-Land preparation helps improve soil quality as well as increase its water retention capacity which will lead to better crop growth in the future.
-Land preparation reduces erosion because it removes loose topsoil which might otherwise be carried away by wind or rainwater flow into streams or rivers which could damage aquatic lifeforms living there like fish or frogs etc.
-Land preparation is necessary for successful crop growth because it allows for proper drainage, which reduces the risk of flooding or waterlogging.
-Land preparation also helps in improving soil fertility by adding organic matter through tillage operations. Soil nutrient content increases with time due to the decomposition of organic matter by microorganisms present in the soil.
-Land preparation also allows for maximum exposure to sunlight, which helps crops grow properly.
Advantages Of Land Preparation
Land preparation is a great way to make sure that the land you’re working with is ready for use. It’s important to understand what your options are and how they can help you. The main advantage of land preparation is that it makes it easier to plant seeds which in turn leads to better growth of crops.
Other advantages of land preparation include:
- A more productive garden
- Fewer weeds and pests
- Longer lasting plants
Land preparation is a process that involves clearing away unwanted growth and debris, as well as adding soil amendments. This process can take place before, during, or after crop planting. The reasons why farmers choose to clear their land are many: they may want to make room for new crops, or they may want to clear out an area so that it can be used for a different purpose entirely. The methods used to clear the land will depend on what type of crop the farmer plans on growing and how much time they have available before planting season begins again.
The goal of land preparation is to prepare the soil for planting crops or raising livestock by loosening it up so that plants can grow better, improving drainage, and making sure there are no weeds or other unwanted plants growing in the ground.