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Preparation of Soil: Agriculture’s foundation is soil. Under particular environmental conditions, soil formation is the consequence of a combination of physical, chemical, and biological processes. The soil is made up of both biotic and abiotic elements. Agricultural soil science is a branch of science dealing with the study of soil and edaphic conditions related to food and fibre production. Soil is a complex mixture of minerals, organic matter, water, air, etc. and supports life on earth. The Preparation of the soil is an essential step before growing crops or sowing a seed.
Soil preparation includes using a variety of equipment, such as a hoe, plough, cultivator, and varied methods, such as ploughing, levelling, and manuring, to prepare the soil for producing crops with higher yields and quality. Because soil is the cornerstone of agriculture, it should be able to grow a variety of crops and create high-quality plants. Let us look at the most important phases in soil preparation.
Soil is a very essential natural resource. Soil is the thin surface layer of the earth comprising mineral particles formed by the breakdown (weathering) of rocks, decayed organic materials, living organisms, water, and air. The process of soil formation is called Pedogenesis.
There are different types of soil in India. Alluvial soil, loam soil, red soil, regur (black earth) soil, laterite soil, mountain soil, etc., are a few examples of different types of soil.
Loam soil is the best soil that is suitable for agriculture. The combination of loam soil is clay, sand, and silt. It is used to grow major crops such as sugarcane, cotton, wheat, jute, pulses, and oilseeds. Vegetables also grow well in this soil.
The soil is composed of various types of constituents. The main constituents of soil are:
1. Inorganic Materials: The inorganic materials of soil are minerals, water and air.
(a) Minerals: Minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, etc., are present in rocks from which the soil is formed. Different kinds of minerals are found in different types of rocks.
(b) Air and Water: Soil contains air trapped within it. This air helps roots and soil organisms to respire. Rainwater and water used in irrigation seep through the soil. Water is absorbed by roots and transported through the stems to be used by plants for their vital functions.
2. Organic Materials: It is formed by the decomposition of dead plants and animals. It is also known as humus. It is a very rich nutrient required by plants. The presence of humus is mainly responsible for fertility and the good texture of the soil.
3. Soil Organisms: Soil is the home of many microorganisms like bacteria, fungi etc. They help in decaying organic matter and thus contribute to the formation of humus. Earthworm helps in loosening and tilling of soil hence, it is called a farmers friend.
The preparation of the soil is the first step before growing a crop. One of the most important tasks in agriculture is to turn and rotate the soil and loosen it. The rotation of soil allows the roots to penetrate deep into the soil. The loose soil allows the roots to breathe easily even when deep into the soil.
In the preparation of soil, all the weeds and unwanted plants can be removed. Making rows and providing distance between each plant helps the plant grow easily.
Fig: Preparation of Soil
There are majorly three types of tools used in the preparation of soil: Plough, hoe and cultivator or disc.
1. Plough: Plough is a simple tool used by farmers in the olden days. It is triangular with a sharp pointed edge. Plough is traditionally drawn by animals such as oxen, bulls, etc. It mainly has \(3\) parts called beam, ploughshare, and plough shaft.
2. Hoe: A hoe is a simple tool used to remove weeds and loosen the soil. It has a long wooden handle attached to different styles of iron blades. It is also pulled by animals in the agricultural fields.
Fig: Different Types of Hoe
3. Cultivator: A cultivator is an advanced tool used in agriculture. It saves a lot of time, labour and energy. It is fixed to a tractor for ploughing.
The initial step before preparation of the soil is to send the soil to a lab to check whether the soil present in particular land or area is suitable for agriculture or not. The dry land should be watered before ploughing the land. Irrigating a land helps loosen the roots of unwanted plants, which can be removed easily during the preparation of soil.
The preparation of soil involves three major steps as mentioned below:
1. Ploughing/Tilling the Soil: Ploughing is the first and foremost important step in soil preparation. Ploughing is the process of turning and loosening the soil. It is also called tilling. Ploughing is done using a bull attached to the beam and connected to the wooden or iron plough. Ploughing can be done by tractors too.
Importance of Ploughing
(a) It helps loosen the soil allows roots to penetrate deep into the soil and helps the root in aeration.
(b) Loosened soil helps grow earthworms known as “farmer’s friends” and microbes in the soil.
(c) Various nutrients are held in the soil like dead and decayed organisms along with minerals, water and air.
(d) It also uproots and buries weeds standing in the field.
2. 2. Levelling the Soil: The next step is to level the soil after the ploughing. The ploughed field may contain big lumps of soil called crumbs. It is necessary to break the soil lumps with a plank or iron leveller. The field is levelled for sowing seed as well as for irrigation purposes.
Fig: Levelling the Soil
Importance of Levelling
(a) To prevent the top fertile soil from being carried away by strong winds or washed away by rainwater.
(b) To help in the uniform distribution of water in the fields during irrigation.
(c) To help prevent the loss of moisture from the soil.
(d) To improve weed control.
3. 3. Manuring Soil: The process of applying manure in agriculture is called manuring. Manuring the soil is very important for plant growth. Sometimes, manures are added to the soil before ploughing. Manures are obtained from organic matter such as dead plant and animal wastes (cow dung, goat waste, etc.).
Fig: Manuring the Soil
Importance of Manuring
(a) Manuring the agricultural land increases soil fertility and crop yield.
(b) Manure upgrades soil texture, recycles nitrogen and introduces essential bacteria.
(c) The proper mixing of manure with soil gives nourishment to the seeds. Manuring is done to restock the soil with nutrients and thus help in the proper growth of the crop.
1. Preparation of soil helps in removing weeds and loosening the soil.
2. It helps to sow the seed at a limited distance.
3. Manuring of soil helps to enrich the soil along with the nutrients present in the soil.
4. Preparation of soil provides a soft soil mass for transplanting and a suitable soil surface for direct seeding.
Soil preparation plays an important role in agriculture. The soil might lose its fertility due to continuous farming. To regain soil fertility, preparation of the soil is necessary. Before sowing the seed, we should plough the land to remove weeds and till the soil to maintain the nutrients present in the soil. We use various tools during the preparation of soil, such as a hoe, cultivator and plough.
The three major steps of preparation of the soil are ploughing, levelling and manuring. The soil digging helps the nutrients present in the deep soil to come on top of the soil. Levelling helps in maintaining the uniform level of the soil. Manuring helps farmers to yield a better product.
Q What is the preparation of soil?
Ans: Preparation of the soil is the first and most important step followed before growing any crops. It helps to turn the soil and loosen it to allow the roots to penetrate deep into it. The loosening of the soil helps in the growth of several soil microbes, earthworms etc., which enrich the soil with humus and other essential nutrients.
Q What are the important steps in the preparation of soil?
Ans: Ploughing, levelling and manuring are the three important steps in the preparation of soil.
Q What is the importance of the preparation of soil?
Ans: The importance of preparation of soil plays a vital role to keep the soil rich in nutrients and removal of weeds. Maintaining the proper rows during ploughing helps the farmer to sow seeds at equal intervals. Manuring during the preparation of soil helps farmers to gain a better yield.
Q Which tools are used in the preparation of soil?
Ans: Plough, hoe and cultivator are three important tools that are used in the preparation of soil.
Q What are the different types of soil?
Ans: Sandy soil, loamy soil, clayey soil, black soil, red soil, etc., are a few examples of different types of soil.
Now you are provided with all the necessary information on the preparation of soil and we hope this detailed article is helpful to you. If you have any queries regarding this article, please ping us through the comment section below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
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