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Preparation of Soil

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  • Last Updated : 12 Sep, 2022
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Soil is a critical natural resource. Soil is the earth’s thin surface layer composed of mineral particles formed by the breakdown (weathering) of rocks, decayed organic materials, living organisms, water, and air. 

Soil formation occurs through a variety of processes, including weathering of rocks and the mixing of rock materials with organic debris produced by plant decay; another process is a slow chemical alteration of water that seeps through weathered rock material after rains. Let us investigate what is causing the weathering! Weathering is the breakdown of rocks into smaller particles that eventually form soil, which also includes geological sediments and organic debris.

Preparation of Soil

  • In traditional agricultural practice, the soil is the primary substance for the formation of tasty and healthy vegetables. It is a necessary procedure before planting crops and sowing seeds to improve the soil.
  • To increase the nutrients in the soil, various methods are used. The soil contains both living and nonliving organisms that are necessary for crop growth and development.
  • Earthworms, microorganisms such as nitrogen-fixing bacteria, decayed organic matter, and other organisms are among the existing components. The minerals, nutrients, and water that the roots absorb from the soil are examples of nonliving components.
  • Before the crop is planted, three major steps are taken to prepare the soil: ploughing, levelling, and manuring.

Steps involved in the Preparation of the Soil

The first step before preparing the soil is to send it to a lab to determine whether the soil in a particular land or area is suitable for agriculture or not. Before ploughing, the dry land should be watered. Irrigating a land helps loosen the roots of unwanted plants, which can then be easily removed during soil preparation.

Soil Ploughing

  • Loosening and turning the soil is done through ploughing (tilling). Before sowing the seeds, it is necessary to loosen and turn the soil in the fields in order to break it down to the size of the grains, which is accomplished with the help of three main ploughing implements or tools: hoe, cultivator, and plough.
  • Ploughing also brings nutrient-rich soil to the surface. Ploughing can also be used to integrate manure, uproot weeds, remove infectious pathogens and insects, and so on. Ploughs made of wood or iron are used for this.
  • tractors or bullocks pull this plough. A hoe is another tool for removing weeds and loose soil. After ploughing, the soil is evenly distributed and levelled in the field.

Ploughing advantages

  • Ploughing loosens the soil, allowing nutrients from deep soil to rise to the surface.
  • Ploughs made of wood or iron are used for this. tractors or bullocks pull this plough.
  • By enabling more air to enter the soil and facilitating easier root penetration, soil aeration will increase.
  • Another tool for removing weeds and loosening the soil is the hoe.
  • Ploughing can also be used to integrate manure, uproot weeds, remove infectious pathogens and insects, and so on.

Soil Leveling

Following ploughing, the soil must be levelled. Crumbs are large lumps of soil that may be found in a ploughed field. The soil lumps must be broken up with a plank or an iron leveller. The field has been levelled in preparation for seeding and irrigation.

Farmers used ox-drawn scrapers to level the land in the past, but now a laser land leveller is used to ensure that the surface of the field is even and flat. The laser-guided levellers save time, increase productivity, and conserve water (by reducing water-logging and run-off issues).

Soil levelling advantages

  • Ploughing ploughed fields keeps the top fertile soil from being carried away by strong winds or washed away by rainwater.
  • The levelling of ploughed soil in the field is accomplished with the use of a Leveller. It is either a heavy wooden or iron plank.
  • Ploughed fields that have been levelled aid in the uniform distribution of water in the fields during irrigation.
  • The levelling of ploughed fields aids in the prevention of moisture loss.

Soil manuring

  • Manuring is the final step in soil preparation after ploughing and manuring. It aids in the replenishment of rich nutrients to the soil; nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are considered the major nutrients, and manuring ensures that they are added to the soil to increase productivity.
  • Manuring also provides many other nutrients and organic fertilisers. The regular addition of compost and other manure improves soil structure, moisture-holding capacity, soil aeration, and water infiltration.

Significance of Soil Manuring

  • Manuring farmland improves soil fertility and crop yield.
  • Manure improves soil texture by recycling nitrogen and introducing beneficial bacteria.
  • The seeds are nourished by the proper mixing of manure and soil. Manuring is done to replenish the soil with nutrients and thus aid in crop growth.

Tools for Soil Preparation

  • Plough: A plough is a simple tool that farmers used in the past. It is triangular in shape and has a sharp pointed edge. Ploughs have traditionally been drawn by animals such as oxen, bulls, and so on. It is made up of three parts: the beam, the ploughshare, and the plough shaft.
  • Hoe: A hoe is a simple tool for removing weeds and loosening the soil. It has a long wooden handle that is attached to various styles of iron blades. Animals in the agricultural fields also pull it.
  • Cultivator: A cultivator is a sophisticated agricultural tool. It saves a significant amount of time, labour, and energy. It is used with a tractor to plough.

FAQs on Preparation of Soil

Question 1: What is the process of soil preparation? 

Answer:

The first and most important step before growing any crops is soil preparation. It is beneficial to turn the soil and loosen it in order for the roots to penetrate deeply. Soil loosening promotes the growth of soil microbes, earthworms, and other organisms that enrich the soil with humus and other essential nutrients.

Question 2: What are the three primary steps in soil preparation? 

Answer. 

Ploughing, levelling, and manuring are the three major steps in soil preparation. Soil digging encourages nutrients from deep soil to rise to the surface. Levelling aids in keeping the soil at a consistent level. Manuring assists farmers in producing higher-quality products.

Question 3: Why is it important to level the field? 

Answer:

Land levelling is most commonly used in mildly sloping lands where farmers use surface irrigation methods such as furrows, borders, basins, or floods. It ensures that irrigation water is distributed uniformly throughout the crop’s root zone. It also aids in better seeding and crop management, resulting in higher crop yield and quality.

Question 4: What is the significance of soil preparation?

Answer:

  • Land ploughing causes the root to penetrate deeper into the soil.
  • Aeration of the roots occurs, and the proper amount of water and oxygen is supplied.
  • During soil preparation, unwanted plants or weeds are removed from the soil by ploughing.
  • Large or dangerous organisms are eliminated. 

Question 5: What are the advantages of ploughing?

Answer:

  • The loose soil allows plant roots to penetrate freely and deeply into the soil, allowing plants to be more firmly planted.
  • The loose soil allows plant roots to breathe freely.
  • The loose soil promotes the growth of worms and microbes in the soil, which are beneficial to the farmer.
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