Pre-Planting And Post-Planting Operations in Agriculture

In any crop-based farm business, there are pre-planting and post-planting operations you must adhere to ensure a good yield. It is easy to till the soil and plant any crop of your choice, but it is not so easy to manage a farm to attain its potential yield.

All farm management practices are grouped as the pre-planting and post-planting operations. You are familiar with some of these operations while some crucial ones are obscure. You will fully glimpse the two operations as you read through.

The Pre-Planting Operations In Agriculture

Pre-planting operations are a series of activities carried out in a farm management system before planting the seed or planting material. Pre-planting operations are those set of activities you carry out on the farm concerning the soil and planting materials before sowing the seeds.

Pre-planting operations are very important; they are the foundation on which you build the success and survival of the crop. Most farmers experience crop failure because of the failure in the pre-planting operations.

Examples of pre-planting operations are:

  • Seed procurement
  • Land preparation
  • Soil pH determination
  • Seed treatment
  • Seed viability test
  • Plant population determination

Now let me enumerate why these pre-planting operations are paramount to the success and survival of your farm business.

1. Seed procurement:

Firstly, where and how do you outsource your seeds or planting material? This is where most farmers get it wrong. You are expected to get your planting materials or seeds from a reputable agro-allied store.

The word “reputable” is very important here; because, when your seeds or planting materials are bad, automatically you are going to experience crop failure. Not only crop failure but also huge losses of investments because the pre-planting operations you had carried out are no longer useful.

Imagine planting on large hectares of land, where you have spent handsomely on land preparation, carrying out soil tests to ascertain the suitability of the soil, planting using huge numbers of laborers or farm machinery and after some weeks you noticed your seeds did not germinate. It is very traumatic.

This is why you should get your seeds or planting materials from a traceable and reputable agro-allied store.

2. Land preparation:

Preparing your farmland is an important pre-planting operation in agriculture that most farmers get wrong from inception. Land preparation provides a suitable environment for the seeds or planting by allowing easy percolation of water and movement of air into the seeds or seedlings to aid quick germination.

For your crop, it ensures a sterile environment where crop pests and disease pathogens are eradicated. It also provides anchorage and support for the crop. The best form of land preparation technique is conventional land preparation practice.

This method of land preparation eradicates weeds and distorts the breeding sites of crop pests and diseases. Irrespective of your scale of production, ensure you prepare your land using the conventional land preparation method.

Read more: Land Preparation: Tools Used, Objectives, Importance & More

3. Soil pH determination:

I am sure you know that crops also select the type of land they grow on; you need to check the suitability of your soil by running a Soil pH test. The Soil pH meter ranges from 1 – 14; most crops thrive best in soil with pH readings within 5.5 – 6.5. Soil pH can be carried out in two ways:

  • Mechanical analysis: This is carried out in the laboratory. Here, the exact soil pH value is obtained after carrying out the test.
  • On-field test: There are ways you test soil pH without going to the laboratory. This can be achieved using a material such as litmus paper. (You can open the link later to read more about it)

When the value you obtain from soil testing falls below or above these values, 5.5– 6.5, you need to correct the soil pH through liming.

4. Seed Treatment:

Even after buying your seeds from a reputable agro-allied company, it is essential you treat your seeds or planting material. Seed treatment serves two purposes:

  • It hastens germination.
  • It protects the seeds or planting material from pests and diseases.

There are different ways to treat seeds or planting material; seed treatment for plantain suckers is different from that of maize seeds. To hasten germination, the seeds can be bruised mechanically to aid water imbibitions. This is commonly used for large seeds.

In addition, soaking seeds in hot water, or extremely called water (moist chilling) is very effective in hastening germination. They are used for small-sized seeds.

To protect the seeds from pests or diseases; the seeds or planting materials are soaked in the pesticide solution (Seed dressing). An example is soaking maize or plantain suckers in copper fungicide to protect the seeds or suckers from fungi attack.

5. Seed viability:

A seed viability test must be carried out before planting to determine if the seed embryo is alive or dead. Although, in most cases, the seed manufacturer will indicate the viability percentage of the seed; in cases where this is devoid, you can carry out a simple viability test using water.

Just pour the seeds in water and leave for about 20 minutes, the floating ones are dead while the ones below are good for planting. It is as simple as that. The dead seeds should be discarded while the viable seeds should be planted.

6. Plant population determination:

If you are planting, you should be able to predict your yield.  It allows you to estimate your profit and assists in making farm management decisions. There is a formula to calculate the plant population.

The plant population formula is: Seed rate (number of seeds per hole) × Land size/spacing

This is simply the product of the seed rate and land size divided by the spacing of the crop. You should adopt these pre-planting operations if you are managing a farm business on crop production. Now let us see the post-planting operations.

Related: How To Calculate Plant Population From Seed And Quadrat For Any Crop

The Post-Planting Operations In Agriculture

Post-planting operations are the series of activities carried out in a farm management system between the period of planting and harvesting. They are necessary to achieve a reasonable yield. Examples of post-planting operations are:

  • Weed control
  • Fertilization
  • Crop protection
  • Harvesting

1. Weed control:

Of course, weed control is the most important post-planting operation. If you do not weed your farm regularly, you are likely to have a very low and suboptimal yield. Weeds are unwanted plants that grow alongside your crop.

Weeds are genetically more viable and aggressive than your crops; they compete with your crops for nutrients, air, and water. Weeds also harbor pests that can reduce the quantity and quality of your crops.

Your crops may find it very difficult to outwit the weeds if you do not intervene; your intervention is in the form of manual or mechanical weeding or using herbicides. Herbicides are used to control weeds.

Weeding should be done 2-3 times before harvesting. First weeding should take place 2-3 weeks after planting while the second weeding should take place 6 weeks after the first weeding.

Related: 5 Organic Weed Control Strategies At Low Cost

2. Fertilization:

You want your crops to grow bigger to control good market prices, isn’t it?

This can only be achieved through fertilization. Fertilization is done using fertilizers; it could be natural, organic, or synthetic. Either way, you need to be very careful. If you are using a natural or organic fertilizer such as compost manure, you should apply a fully decomposed one. Why?

Some natural fertilizers, especially the ones of animal origin contain pathogens that may cause disease or harbor pests. Use a fully decomposed manure that is devoid of pathogens. Similarly, take some precautions when applying synthetic fertilizers. Ensure the fertilizer particles are not trapped on the leaves. Why?

Because synthetic fertilizers are hygroscopic, they tend to absorb moisture from any material they come in contact with. So, if the fertilizer granules are trapped between the plant leaves, it can cause necrosis or burns on your crop leaves.

When to apply fertilizers

Apply fertilizers after every weeding. It gives your crop full access to the fertilizer, thus, enhancing efficiency.

3. Crop Pest and Disease Control:

Another important post-planting operation is pest and disease control. Pest and disease can reduce plant yield; pest reduces the quantity while diseases reduce the quality. You can control pests by using organic materials such as Neem oil or inorganic by using synthetic pesticides like DD force.

You should apply pesticides as soon as you observe the activities of pests. However, you should stop the application of synthetic pesticides about 5 weeks before harvesting; this is to avoid food poisoning. Organic pesticides like Neem oil can be applied indiscriminately, but they should also be controlled for economic reasons.

Related: Use The Principles Of Crop Rotation To Control Crop Pests And Diseases

4. Harvesting:

Harvesting marks the end of cultivation. This is the period farmers look forward to seeing. The harvesting period varies from crop to crop, it depends on the length of maturity of the crop. As soon as the crop reaches the peak of maturity, it can be harvested.

The method of harvesting also differs; the way you harvest crops like yam and cassava is not the same as you harvest bananas and tomatoes. Irrespective of the method of harvesting, it should not damage to the crop. This will increase the shelf life of the crop during storage and maintain the quality.

Related: Eight (8) Types of Tools Used For Harvesting Crops (Pictures)


As a farmer, you must understand fundamental knowledge and principles of crop production. If you want to increase your farm yield, you should implement these pre-planting and post-planting operations. You can organize them in any of the farm management software.

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