Cultivation practices taken up after sowing of crop is called inter-cultivation. It is otherwise called as after operation. There are three important after cultivation processes viz., Thinning and gap filling, weeding and hoeing and earthing up.
1. Thinning and Gap filling
The objective of thinning and gap filling process is to maintain optimum plant population. Thinning is the removal of excess plants leaving healthy seedlings. Gap filling is done to fill the gaps by sowing of seeds or transplanting of seedlings in gap where early sown seed had not germinated. It is a simultaneous process. Normally, these are practiced a week after sowing to a maximum of 15 days. In dryland agriculture, gap filling is done first. Seeds are dibbled after 7 days of sowing. Thinning is done after gap filling; in order to avoid drought. It is a management strategy to remove a portion of plant population to mitigate stress is referred to as mid season correction.
2. Weeding and Hoeing
Weeding is removal of unwanted plants. Weeding and hoeing is a simultaneous operation. Hoeing is disturbing the top soil by small hand tools and helps in aerating the soil.
3. Earthing up
It is a dislocation of soil from one side of a ridge and to be placed nearer the cropped side. It is carried out in wide spaced and deep rooted crops. It is done around 6-8 weeks after sowing / planting in sugarcane, tapioca, banana, etc.
4. Other inter cultivation practices
Stirring or scraping the surface soil in inter and intra row spacing of the crop using tools or implements.
Removal of plants of a variety admixed with other variety of same crop. Ex. In IR 50 rice field, the other rice varieties are rogue. It is practiced in seed production to maintain purity.
Removal of terminal buds. It is done to stimulate auxillary growth. Practiced in cotton and tobacco.
Provision of support to the crop is called propping. Practiced in sugarcane commonly. It is done to prevent lodging of the crop. Cane stalks from adjacent rows are brought together and tied with their own trash and old leaves.
Removing of older leaves from the sugarcane crop.
Removal of axillary buds and branches which are considered non essential for crop production and which removes plant nutrients considerably are called suckers. Ex. Tobacco.
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