Soil preparation is the first step before growing the crop. The most important part of soil preparation is to turn the soil and loosen the topsoil.
Advantages of loosening soil:
- Helps in the growth of earthworms and soil microorganisms.
- Allows the roots to penetrate deep into the soil and breathe easily.
- When soil is turned, plants get a fresh supply of nutrients which plants again absorb.
Earthworms and soil microbes add humus to the soil and are farmer-friendly. In plants, the absorption of water, minerals, nutrients, and air from the soil is through roots. Thus, preparation of the soil is of prime importance before crop cultivation. Soil is prepared through:
- Basal manuring
The process of loosening and turning the soil (up and down) to facilitate nutrient availability to the root is called tilling or ploughing.
Ploughing is done by a plough, hoe, or cultivator.
It is used for tilling and turning soil, adding fertilisers to the crop, and removing weeds and other waste materials from the soil. Plough is made of wood, drawn through a pair of bulls or horses. It has a strong, sharp triangular iron strip called the ploughshare.
The plough has a long log of wood (main part) called the plough shaft. The other end is attached to a beam placed on the neck of the bull or the horse.
A simple agricultural tool used to till the land, remove the weeds, and dig the soil. It contains a long wooden rod that contains a bent iron plate at one end. The other end can be attached to an animal.
It involves the use of a tractor. Cultivators kill weeds and remove unwanted vegetation present in the field. Today, ploughing is mostly done through tractor-driven cultivators. Also, cultivators save labour and time.
Once the field is ploughed and tilled, the topsoil becomes loose. Levelling of soil is done through an implement called a leveller, that is a heavy wooden or iron plank. Levelling of the field helps in the uniform distribution of water during the process of irrigation.
Manuring is a means through which manure is added to the soil. Manure contains nutrients that are needed for crop growth.
To increase soil fertility, manure is added to the soil before sowing. This is because the manure must get properly incorporated and mixed into the soil. The application of green manure and farmyard manure enhances the growth and crop yield.