Puddling is done
• To obtain a soft seedbed for the seedling to establish faster,
• To minimize percolation of water so that water can stagnate in the field,
• To minimize leaching loss of nutrients and thereby increase the availability of plant nutrients,
• To facilitate better availability of nutrient by achieving reduced soil condition,
• To incorporate the weeds and stubbles into the soils, and
• To minimize the weed problems The implements used for puddling the wet soils are as follows:
(i) Country plough,
(ii) Bose plough,
(iii) Wetland puddler,
(iv) Cage wheel,
(v) Sheep foot roller, and
(vi) Helical bladed puddler.
i. Country/wooden/Desi plough – The indigenous plough consists of a wooden body to which a handle and a shaft pole are attached. The body is made of a bent piece of hard wood with two arms making an angle of about 135°. It is given a wedge shape with an isosceles triangular section. A small piece of flat iron (shares) serves as the piercing point of the plough and is fixed over the plough body with clamps. The shaft pole is secured with the yoke during working. The working of plough results in the opening of ‘V’ shaped furrow. The width of furrow depends on the size of the plough bottom. The depth of penetration of a country plough can be altered a little by pulling the implement behind or pushing forward, which results in deeper or shallow ploughings respectively. It covers 0.15 to 0.20 hectare in 8 hours.
ii. Bose plough – It is wooden plough with a mould board can share instead of the usual small iron share. It is used for the primary tillage operations in wetlands. Nowadays this plough is made up of iron angles instead of woods to make it sturdy. It is also called as Melur plough in Tamil Nadu.
(iii) Wetland puddler – It consists of three angular bladed cast iron hoods rigidly fixed to a hallow horizontal pipe and is rotated when dragged by a pair of bullocks. This implement is proved to be an economic, labour saving and an effective dual-purpose implement useful for puddling and trampling green leaf manure in the puddle field. When used for trampling the vegetative matter is cut and buried in the soil. It covers an area of 0.8 ha/day.
(iv) Cage wheel – It is used for puddling in medium and heavy clayey soils in wetlands for rice cultivation. The cage wheels are attached in place of pneumatic wheels in power tiller and tractor. The cage wheels perform well in all the fields except in fields with clay and silt content of the soil was more than 56%. It saves cost, time and brings more uniformity and thoroughness in the puddle than country ploughing. Cage wheel attached to power tiller covers an area of 0.44 ha/day. The average depth of puddle is 23 cm.
(vi) Helical bladed puddler – It is used to puddle the wetland soil after initial ploughing with country plough or melur plough. It is a bullock-drawn implement. Five numbers of helical blades made of mild steel are fixed in a skewed shape and mounted on a wooden frame having wooden bearing such that the blades can rotate freely. A handle and pole shaft are provided. Due to the helical shape of the blade, there will be continuous contact between the blades and the soil, which gives uniform load on the neck of the bullocks. After ploughing the land with country plough, the implement can be used to puddle the soil up to a depth of 10 cm. The helical geometry facilitates better churning and slicing of the soil required for puddling. It covers 0.6 ha/day.
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