Post Harvest Field Management
- Summer ploughing improves soil structure
due to alternate drying and cooling. Soil permeability is
increased by breaking the compacted layers. Tillage improves
soil aeration which helps in multiplication of micro organisms.
Organic matter decomposition is hastened resulting in higher
- Increased aeration also helps in degradation
of herbicide and pesticide residues and harmful allelopathic
chemicals exuded by roots of previous crop or weed. It also
helps in reducing the soil dwelling insect pests. In view
of several benefits summer ploughing could be taken up at
optimum moisture level.
- Frequent harrowing has to be avoided
as it results in destruction of soil structure. Tillage at
improper moisture level is to be discouraged as it also damages
soil structure and leads to development of hard pans.
- It is generally followed by the most
of the farmers repeatedly at the same depth (12-15 Cm). As
a result of this hard pans are created, which inhibits the
penetration of roots in deep rooted crops.
- Eg: Cotton roots grow to a depth of
2 Mts. in deep alluvial soils without any pans, when hard
pans are present they grow only upto hard pan (5 - 20 cm).
But shallow ploughing is practiced to open the soil crust
to increase the receptivity of rainfall.
- " Making soil impermeable by manipulating
and compacting it in standing water, which reduces its apparent
specific volume, thus facilitates transplanting." As
a result of puddling, an impervious layer is formed below
the surface which reduces deep percolation losses of water.
- Levelling is the
tillage operation in which the soil is moved to a establish
a desired soil elevation stage. Due to levelling the use of
water and fertilizer efficiency increases effectively.
- Harrowing is a secondary tillage operation
which pulverizes, smoothens and packs the soil in seed-bed
preparation and control weeds.
- The main objective
is to conserve soil and moisture .Conservation tillage is
an operation that is designed to maintain roughness of a field
surface and leave most of the previous crop residues on the
surface while providing a suitable seed-bed and weed control
for the next crop.
- This roughness reduces water run off
and soil erosion.
Ridges and Furrows
- A long, row ridge of earth with gently
sloping sides and a shallow channel along the upper side,
to control erosion by diverting surface run-off across the
slope instead of permitting it to flow uninterrupted down
EG: Sugarcane, Sunflower, Vegetable crops.
- It is the process of forming an artificial
earthern embankment made across slopping agricultural land
to cut short lengthy soil slopes and reduces run-off and erosion.
- These bunds are also formed along the
contours across the slope of land in the low rainfall regions
to conserve soil moisture.
(peddamadaka Rayalaseema) Mould board plough, Disc plough,
sub-soil plough, chisel Plough.
||Tractor drawn implements,
||Disc harrow, Blade
harrow, indigenous blade harrow (Guntaka).
|Ridges And Furrows
||Ridge plough, Ridge
||Bund former, Spade.
Methods of Sowing
- Seeds are spread uniformly over well
prepared land and is covered by ploughing or planking. It
is most primitive method of sowing crops. The broadcasting
Seeds fall at different depths when broadcasted resulting
in uneven stand
It requires more
Seeds fallen deep
in the soil may not germinate.
Due to broadcasting
excess competition at certain areas and no competition
at all in other areas takesplace in the field. So, yield
returns will be decreased.
use efficiency and fertilizer efficiency will
There is no possibility
of controlling weeds by inter cultivation.
- To overcome the problems of broadcasting
drilling the seeds in lines has come into practice. Weeds
can be controlled economically by inter cultivation in line
sown crops. In addition, drilling or line sowing facilitates
uniform depth of sowing resulting in uniform crop stand. Seed
rate can be considerably reduced drilling.
- When individual seeds or seed material
is placed in the soil by manual labour, it is called planting.
- Generally crops with bigger sized seeds
and those needing wider spacing are sown by this method. Eg
: Cotton, Maize, Potato, Sugarcane, etc.
- It is the process
of planting seedlings in prepared main field. Small seeded
crops like Tobacco, Chillies, Tomato, etc. are to be sown
shallow and frequently irrigated for proper germination. Taking
care of the germinating seed or seedlings which are spread
over large area is a problem with regard to application of
water, weed control, pest control etc. Therefore, seeds are
sown in a small area called nursery and all the care is taken
to raise the seedlings.
- The advantages of transplanting saving
in irrigation water, good stand establishment and increase
in intensity of cropping. In respect to paddy the nursery
is raised in small puddled plots and later transplanted in
the main field at required spacing.
- The quality of seed
required for sowing in a unit area of land. It is usually
expressed in kg/ ha.
- The distance between crop row ( inter-row
spacing) and between plants within the row (intra - row spacing)
is referred as spacing. It is expressed in Cms.
- Number of plants maintained in an unit
area of land is known as plant population/ density. Establishment
of optimum plant population is essential to get maximum yield.
When sown densely competition among plants is more for growth
factors resulting in reduction of yield.
- Yield per plant decreases gradually
as plant population per unit area is increased. The plant
population density vary with the type of soil and crop. Optimum
plant population density has to be maintained for securing
- When more than one
crop is to be grown in an year on the same piece of land,
the time occupied by each crop has to be reduced.
- The seedling growth
in the early stages is very slow. Seedlings need extra care
for establishing in the field because of their tenderness.
Small seeded crops are to be sown shallow and frequently irrigated
for proper germination.
- Taking care of the germinating seed
or seedlings which are spread over large area is a problem
with regard to application of water, weed control, pest control
etc. Therefore, seeds are sown in a small area called nursery
and all the care is taken to raise the seedlings.
- Transplanting is usually done manually.
In case of rice it is also done mechanically with transplantor
provided the nursery is raised through dapog method.
- For achieving good
results from transplanting, the seedlings are to be transplanted
at optimum age and at proper depth. The age of seedlings for
transplanting depends on crop and seasonal conditions.
- Country plough (Akkadi),
Seed drill, Ferti-cum-seed drill, Mechanical seed drill are
- It is an operation of soil cultivation
performed in standing crop. It is also called as inter culturing.
It facilitates good aeration, and better development of root
- Weeding is the process of eliminating
competition of unwanted plants to the regular crop in respect
to nutrition and moisture. So that crops can be grown profitably.
It also facilitates other operations like irrigation and fertilizer
application. The advantages of weeding are:
of soil moisture.
- Reduced competition
for nutrients and water.
- Purity of seed can be maintained.
- It is the process
of putting the earth or soil just near the base for certain
crops like Sugar cane, Cassava, Papaya, Potato, etc. to give
support to the plants.
- Sugarcane, Papaya,
Banana - To avoid lodging
- Cassava, Potato - To provide more soil
volume for the growth of tubers. Vegetables - To facilitate
Ridges and Furrows
- It is also included in inter cultivation
and generally done at the base of the crop to provide extra
support against lodging and also provide soil volume for better
growth. It also facilitates uniform spread of moisture during
operation of irrigation.
- Certain other operations like gap filling,
thinning and propping are required as part of inter cultivation
operations. In crops like Cotton, Paddy, the gap filling is
done in missing areas of the planted main field to maintain
optimum population .
- Like wise thinning is also practiced
in direct sown crops like Jowar, Chillies, to avoid over crowding
and to maintain uniform plant stand. In crops like Sugarcane,betelwine,
Grapes propping is necessary to support the main crop establishment.
- Ploughs, blade harrow
- Weeding : Weeders
( Meesala Guntaka ), Metla Guntaka, Danthi, Star-weeder, Japanese
- Earthing Up : Country plough, Spade.
- It is an operation of cutting, picking,
plucking, digging or combination of these for removing the
useful part or economic end product, part from the plant.
- Crops can be harvested
at physiological maturity or at harvest maturity. Crop is
considered to be at physiological maturity when the translocation
of photosynthates are stopped to economic part. If the crop
is harvested early, the produce contain high moisture and
more immature grains.
- The yields will be low due to unfilled
grains. Late harvesting results in shattering of grains, germination
even before harvesting during rainy season and breakage during
processing. Hence, harvesting at correct time is essential
to get good quality of grains and higher yields.
- Manual harvesting
is practiced by cutting crop with sickle or knife. In some
crops like Sugarcane, Millets,Paddy the crop is cut with sickles
- In some crops like Groundnut, tuber
crops the plants are pulled and economic parts are separated.
In other crops like Cotton, Chillies, and fruits the picking
is practices to remove the economic parts like kappas, pods
and fruits etc.
- The combines are used to perform several
operations such as cutting the crop, separating the grain
from straw, cleaning the grain from chaff and transporting
grains to the storage tank. Now a days the harvesting is exclusively
for harvesting crops like Paddy and threshing paddy are used.
Machines are now available for separating pods from the plants
and also for shelling pods (decorticators) in respect to Groundnut
- Likewise machines are available for
threshing sunflower heads, shelling of castor capsules and
sowing of grain.
Drying and Processing
- Drying is a process
by which moisture content from grain is reduced to safe limit.
Drying is done either by using solar energy or by artificial
- Processing is the conversion of the
produce into a more finished condition before it is offered
- The removal of foreign and dissimilar
material by washing, screening, hand-picking, aspiration or
any other mechanical means is known as cleaning. It is required
to maintain the quality of the produce.
knife, combines, harvesters
- Threshing : Bullocks,
Tractors, Decorticators etc.
- Drying : Dryers
Post Harvest Field Management
- After harvest of
the crop, the remnants of the plant viz. Straw, stubbles,
leaves, etc. are ploughed into soil to decompose, there by
providing source of organic matter for the next season crop.
- In some places the
flock of sheep are housed (penning) during night time. So
that the excreta is collected on the field which is also a
good source of organic nutrients.
- The left over stubbles,
plant residues in crops like Cotton, Chillies, Maize, Sunflower
etc. may be burnt as part of soil sterilization as to reduce
population of harmful microbes and soil dwelling insect pests.
- In crops like Paddy the stubbles may
be removed by ploughing after harvest to eliminate hibernating
stem borer population. Field bunds may be trimmed to avoid
hibernating grass hopper egg masses.