Tillage is as old as Agriculture, Primitive man used to disturb the soil for placing seed Jethro Till considered as ‘Father of Tillage’ Who Written’ Horse hocing Husbandry’ book. Tillage of the soil consists of breaking the hard compact surface to a certain depth and other operations that are followed for plant growth.
Tillage is the physical manipulation of soil with tools & the tilling of land for the cultivation of crop plants i.e. the working of the surface soil for bringing about conditions favorable for Raising of crop plants. Tillage is the manipulation of soil with tools & implements for loosening the surface crust & bringing about conditions favorable for the germination of seeds and the growth of crops.. Packages of practices to explore full potential of new varieties of crops.
Soil Tilth: Soil Tilth is the term used to express soil condition resulting from tillage
Tilth and Tillage: Types of Tillage Operations
Types of Tillage Operations: Tillage includes use of different kinds of implements at different times are classified on the basis of their timing into 3 types:
1. Preparatory tillage:Tillage operations that are carried out from the time of harvest of a crop to the sowing of the next crop are known as preparatory cultivation/ Tillage. OR Operations carried out in any cultivated land to prepare seedbed for sowing crops are preparatory tillage. These are time consuming & costly but are to be performed at right stage of soil moisture & with right implements, otherwise it will not helps in good growth of crop. These includes in sequence, plouging, clod crushing, leveling, discing , harrowing, manure mixing & compacting the soil and implements to be used are ploughs, clod crushers, disc ploughs or harrow , bladed harrow etc.
It includes primary & secondary tillage:
a) Primary tillage:It mainly includes the ploughing operation which is opening of the compacted soil with the help of different ploughs. Ploughing is done to:
1)Open the hard soil,
2) Separate the top soil from lower layers,
3) Invert the soil whenever necessary and
4) Uproot the weeds & stubbles.
The cutting & inverting of the soil that is done after the harvest of the crop or untitled fallow or to bring virgin or new land under cultivation is called primary tillage. It may be done once or twice a tear in normal or settled agriculture or once in four to five years in dry land agriculture.
b)Secondary tillage : Lighter or finer operation performed on the soil after primary tillage are known as secondary tillage which includes the operations performed after ploughing, leveling, discing, harrowing etc.
1.Seedbed preparation: when the soil is brought to a condition suitable for germination of seeds & growth of crops, called as SEEDBED.
After preparatory tillage the land is to be laid out properly for irrigating crops if irrigation is available for sowing or planting seeding which are known as seedbed preparation: It includes harrowing, leveling, compacting the soil, preparing irrigation layouts such as basins, borders, rides & furrows etc. and carried out by using hand tools or implements like harrow, rollers plank, rider etc. After field preparation, sowing is done with seed drills. Seeds are covered & planking is done so as to level & impart necessary compaction.
3. Inter tillage/ Inter cultivation/ Interculture/ after care operation: The tillage operations that are carried out in the standing crop are called inter tillage operations. The tillage operation done in the field after sowing or planting and prior to the harvesting of crop plants known as inter cultivation. It includes gap filling , thinning , weeding , mulching, top dressing of fertilizers, hoeing, earthling up etc. unless these are carried out at right time, with suitable implements mainly hoes & hand tools the crop will not attain a vigorous growth. These operations are carried out in between the crop rows.
Tilth and Tillage – Objects of Tillage
Objects of Tillage: These can be summarized in brief as below.
- To make the soil loose & porous:It enables rain water or irrigation water to enter the soil easily & the danger of loss of soil & water by erosion and run-off, respectively, is reduced. Due to adequate proportion of microspores (capillary), the water will be retained in the soil & not lost by drainage.
- To aerate the soil:Aeration enables the metabolic processes of the living plants & micro organisms, etc. to continue properly. Due to adequate moisture and air, the desirable chemical & biological activities would go on at a greater speed & result in rapid decomposition of the organic matter and consequently release of plants nutrients to be used by crops. Similarly, the evolution of CO2 gas in this process will result in forming weak carbonic acid in the soil which will make more nutrients available to crops.
- To have repeated exchange of air / gases: There should be an exchange of air during the growing period of crops. As the supply of O2 from the air that is being constantly utilized in several biological reactions taking place in the soil; should be continuously renewed. At the same time CO2 that is released should be removed & not allowed to accumulate excessively decomposition of org. residues by micro- organisms where O2 is utilized & CO2 released. Deficiency or excess of O2 may reduce the rate of reactions.
O2 in soil air & atm. Air is more or less same i.e. 20 to 21% CO2 in atmospheric air is about 0.03% & in soil air 0.2 to o.3% which is 8to 10 times more than atmospheric air. It is, therefore, very necessary to often introduce atmospheric air in the soil to keep the concentration of CO2 under by suitable tillage operations.
4. To increase the soil temperature: This can be achieved by controlling the air- water content of soil & also by exposing more of the soil to the heat of sun. This helps in acceleration of activities of soil bacteria & other micro organisms.
- To control weeds:It is the major function of tillage; Weeds rob food & water required by crop & competition results in lowering of crop yield.
- To remove stubbiest:Tillage helps in removing stubbles of previous crop and other sprouting materials like bulbs, solons etc in making a clean field/seedbed.
- To destroy insect pests:Insects are either exposed to the sun’s heat or to birds that would pick them up. Many of the insect-pests remain in dormant condition in the form of pupae in the top soil during off season & when the host crop is again planted, they reappear on the crop. Some may harbor on stubbiest or other eminent of the crop. Grubs & cutworms can be destroyed by tillage.
- To destroy hard pan:Specially designed implements (Chisel plough) are helpful to break hard pan formed just below the ploughing depth which act as barrier for root growth & drainage of soil.
- To incorporate organic & other bulky manures:Organic manures should not only be spread but properly incorporated into the soil. Sometimes bacterial cultures or certain soil applied insecticides require to be drilled into the soil for control of pests like white grub. White ants, termites, cut worms e.g. Aldrin.
- To Invert soil to improve fertility:By occasional deep tillage the upper soil layer rich in org. matter goes down thus plant roots get benefit of rich layer and lower layer which is less fertile comes to top.
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