Land Preparation

Introduction Implements Used for Land Preparation


    • Potato being a tuber crop, requires a soft, friable and deep seed bed for the development of uniform large smooth tubers.
    • To provide this, potato often is planted on raised seedbeds / ridges, prepared with the help of potato ridger after a thorough and deep cultivation of soil, liberally fertilized with F.Y.M., compost or other organic manures including the green manures.
    • All the stubbles and non-decomposed organic matter is removed if it is feared that it may not be decompose quickly.
    • Every care is taken is to eradicate the weeds.
    • Potato in Punjab usually follows a Kharif fodder or grain crop of maize or rice which are not only well fertilized but also leave sizeable quantities of root-mass after their harvest thus enriching the soil
    • There is little time left for thorough incorporation of organic manures, its decomposition and land preparation. In true sense, speedy land preparation to ensure timely planting of this short duration crop holds the key to profitability margins realized.
    • If the crop is sown early, it is likely to attain marketable maturity early in the season when the prices are comparatively high and availability of fresh and quality tubers is short. Potato harvested at this time of the year thus sells at 4 to 5 times the peak production period rates and even if the yields are some what lesser than the optimum yet the farmers end-up realizing 2-3 time more income than the returns realized from peak-season harvests.
    • Moreover an early harvest also means an early vacation of the field which in turn means an early sowing of following wheat (the most preferred sequence crop to potato). Or early sowing of the next potato or vegetable crop in early December instead of delayed sowing in end December / first fortnight of January.
    • Wheat is highly sensitive to delayed planting and delayed sowings. Its grain yield tends to decline @ 30-400 kg/ha/week and therefore 2-3 weeks gain in planting time of succeeding wheat transforms to 7-10 quintal gain in the yield of wheat (Rs 4000-6000 more returns/ha).
    • Early planting of potato in the season thus proves doubly gainful and hence is to be practiced atleast over 25-30 percent of the area, if not more, to take advantage early high market prices.
    • Thus available time becomes a limiting factor and its efficient management deserves special attention in the management of potato cultivation, especially the land preparation tillage and planting of the crop.
    • Land preparation tillage in Punjab is largely accomplished with the help of tractor operated implements, mostly through repeated use of off-set disc harrow in the initial stages followed by 2-3 cultivator operations and planking given cross-wise to break the bigger clods and pulverize them into small size aggregates.
    • Usually, the first one half dose of N and full dose P and K fertilizers is broad cast at the time of last cultivator operation and mixed thoroughly in top 2-3 inches of soil by giving a light harrowing.
    • This is followed by planting operation wherein potato tubers are manually placed in the rows, 20 cm apart, with a row to row spacing maintained at 60 cm. Soon after, a ridger is run to cover the potato tubers by throwing the soil from both the sides and ridges pressed and the first light irrigation applied (by allowing the filling to about ½-2/3rd of the ridge height).


Implements used for Land Preparation

Disc plough

  • Disc plough invariably is used for initial ploughing of hardset soils.
  • Its use is commonly made in soils having root stumps of previous crop and where crop residue and weed flora exists.
  • Their discing, deep burial helps to improve the soil health on the decomposition of the chopped vegetable material into the soil.

Tractor drawn cultivator

  • This is one of the most useful modern implement used to prepare the field for potato cultivation.
  • It is often used for working the soil and pulverizing it to a fine tilth seedbed.
  • To bring the soil to a fine tilth, repeated use of cultivator, depending on the nature of the soil, may have to be made.
  • Alternatively, it is preferred to cultivate the field in two directions at right angles to each other.
  • Working 8 hours a day, a cultivator can work up 2.5 to 3.5 hectares a day.
  • Each cultivator operation is often followed by planking operations.

Off-set disc harrow

  • This is the most commonly used farm implement for primary as well secondary and prepratory tillage and is highly successful on light textured deep alluvial soils of Punjab.
  • It is used either singly and in combination with the cultivator, very effectively

Hot weather cultivation

  • This cultivation consists of ploughing the field during summer months of may-June.
  • One or two turnings to the soil are expected to reduce the incidence of soil borne diseases and pests and also to control perennial weeds.
  • This is practiced in areas where the land is left fallow during the time gap available after the harvest of winter crop and seeding of the Kharif fodder / grain crop of maize.
  • For attaining good germination and high yield of potato, the field should be properly leveled with arrangement for surface drainage considered rather essential for its cultivation.
  • Use of Discing, supplemented with cultivators, proves optimum for desired field preparation and with 3-4 cultivation, the field seems well prepared.
  • The potato crop is generally grown in light textured soils containing adequate amount of organic matter and prepared with minimum tillage.