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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kinds of Tillage Operations

Posted by Shakil Shaukat On Thursday, April 10, 2014

As we have discussed earlier, Tillage is the mechanical manipulation of the soil with tools and implements to make soil conditions suitable for better seed germination and crop growth whereas, tilth is a physical condition of the soil resulting from tillage.
Conceptual map of kinds of Tillage Operations
Here we will discuss about types of tillage operations;
1. On Season Tillage: Tillage operations performed at the start of or during the cropping seasons. (June–July or Sept.–Oct.).
They are of two main types;
1. Preparatory Tillage
2. Intercultivation (or Inter tillage)
2. Off Season Tillage: Tillage operations carried out during fallow or non-cropped periods (summer).
3. Special Types of Tillage: As the name refers, these tillage operations are carried out with some special objective.

1. On Season Tillage

The tillage operations performed during the onset of cropping season to preparation of seedbed for better crop growth and later during the crop stand, are called on-season tillage operations.
A. Preparatory Tillage
The tillage carried for preparing a piece of land for cropping.
a) Primary tillage
Primary tillage operations constitute initial cutting and inverting of soil after previous crop or fallow tillage. The depth of primary tillage operations range from 10-30 cm. The soil loosens and opens as a result of plowing and planking, providing good tilth.
The main objective is to control weeds to incorporate crop stubbles and to restore soil structure.
b) Secondary tillage
Primary tillage operation do not leave fine soil and leaves cracks and crevices. To get fine tilth, shallow tillage operations are carried out to cover the crevices and break the clods left after primary tillage. The soil is stirred and clods are broken. In addition, mixing of fertilizers and mulching, harrowing, pulverizing and ridges and furrows are also made during secondary tillage operations.
c) Seed bed preparation
Shallow operations carried out for fine seedbed preparation are carried out as final steps for cultivation of crops. The main purpose is weed control and structural development of the soil.
B. Inter Tillage/Inter Cultivation
The tillage operations carried after sowing of the crops and before the harvest are called inter-tillage operations. These include hoeing, harrowing, inter-cultivation of other crops etc.
The main purposes are to root-out weeds and incorporation of fertilizers or manures.

2. Off Season Tillage

Tillage operations for improvement and conditioning of the soil during off-season (uncropped season) are carried out with the objective of leaching to remove salts for reclamation, water conservation, control of pest population and disease vectors in the soil.
a) Post harvest tillage
Tillage operations carried out after the harvest of crops to root-out the stubbles of the previous crop and weeds with the objectives of water conservation and conserving soil structure are called post-harvest or stubble tillage operations.
b) Summer tillage
Tillage operations carried out during summer with the objectives to control pests and disease pathogens, reducing soil erosion and conservation of soil moisture as well as retaining the rain water through summer showers. It affects the soil aggregates, organic matter but it may favor wind
c) Winter tillage
Winter tillage refers to the tillage operations carried out in during winter season in the temperate areas with low temperatures. The fields are plowed and harrowing is done to root out weeds and improve physical conditions of the soil.
d) Fallow tillage
Fallow tillage refers to the tillage practices carried over an arable land in uncropped land. The objectives are to root out all the weeds and destruction of the pathogens or eggs of insect pests in the soil. Soil is vulnerable to wind and other types of erosion when tilled in fallow condition.

3. Special Types

Special type tillage includes
a) Sub-Soiling
Sub-soiling is unlike other tillage operations which involves breaking of hardpan formed in the field. The hardpan is cut open with subsoiler or chisel plow. The soil is not inverted in this operation. It is done once in 4–5 years where there is a colossal loss of topsoil due to carelessness.
b) Land Leveling
Land leveling is major requirement for better crop stand and fair distribution of irrigation water. Hence, levelers and scrapers are used for land leveling. Leveling has its own advantages of resistance to soil erosion and help in other operations.
c) Puddling
Tillage operations doing in standing water for preparation of field for rice cultivation. The conditions are anaerobic.
Other types include;
d) Strip tillage – tillage in strips
e) Strip tillage - Ploughing is done as a narrow strip by mixing and tilling the soil leaving the
remaining soil surface undisturbed.
f) Clean tillage refers to cleaning the entire field of the plants with the objective to control soil borne pathogens and eggs of pests. All the plants are uprooted and soil is turned.
g) Ridge tillage refers to forming ridges by ridge former or ridge plough with the objective of
sowing the seeds.
h) Conservation tillage refers to tillage practices implemented for purpose of conservation of soil moisture. In these practices, mulch is retained on the surface of soil.
The important criteria of a conservation tillage system are:
i) Contour tillage refers the preparation of contours for cultivation. This reduces soil erosion.
i) Blind tillage refers to tillage done after sowing the crop and either at the pre-emergence stage or during the early stages of crop growth so that crop plants are damaged, the purpose is to uproot the weeds.

Read about the Characteristics and Objectives of Tillage.. Click HERE