Farmers have recently denounced to a much more conservative and eco- friendly method to ensure healthy growth of crops. With the modern advent of agricultural technology and the improvement in scientific research, scientists have been successful in developing various naturally occurring substances that help in maintaining a steady and healthy growth of crops. There are several aspects that a farmer considers while deciding on which crops to grow at what time of the year.
The success of a farmer lies solely on how he plans and schedules his every action ahead of time.
Let us discuss 8 ways that a farmer generally considers to maintain healthy and steady growth of crops :
Preparation of land– Preparing a good land before cultivating the crops is an essential and most important step in the process of growing crops. It is also important to prepare suitable land for our crops in a cost-effective way. The time frame required for developing the crops is also an integral part of the whole process.
A productive land once prepared will fetch good crops. Since the introduction of agriculture since medieval times, farmers have always been paying due consideration towards the land structure. Nowadays, almost ever farmers in the world have deployed strong electrically powered mechanical techniques like the usage of tractors for tilling purposes. However, they are many farmers with economical troubles who cannot afford such heavy machinery, so they stick to conventional techniques like manual and animal tillage techniques.
Steps in Soil Preparation– Before concentrating on the methods to prepare the soil, it is important to turn and loosen it. This is an essential process as it allows the root to penetrate deep into the soil and it allows the roots to breathe easily. The process of loosening up the soil is called tilling or ploughing.
Before sowing the seeds it is important to break the soil into small grains to yield better growth of crops. This is done with the help of few tools which are Plough, harrow and cultivator. The main tools used here are :
Plough- This is a tool used for tilling the soil, mixing soil, adding fertilisers etc. This is done either by using a tractor or by manual effort and it is done to break, pound and mix the soil. Manual ploughing is carried out by using a wooden implement pulled by a pair of bulls or other animals. At this phase, organic manures are also added to the soil.
Harrow- This a tool used for shallow cultivation of soil and care of crops. It also involves clearing out the weeds from the soil and also add fertilizers, therefore, keeping the soil smooth and pulverised. This step is also crucial as it allows the soil to retain moisture and prevents it from drying up.
Cultivator- It is a tool which is used as a mechanical implement to break and cut through the soil. It also helps in uprooting weeds from the soil.
Many might come up with a question that why tilling is so important in the course of cultivating crops. People are generally in doubt regarding what level of tillage is required. So let us discuss the benefits that tillage offers to a farmer:
1. It injects life into the soil by making it airy and softer for seeding crops to bloom and grow steadily.
2. Helps in discarding weeds and residue of old crops.
3. Lets in sun rays and oxygen into the soil, therefore making it healthier and much more fertile.
4. The roots of the plant can penetrate deep into the soil due to the light nature of the soil grains.
5. Allows water to seep deeper into the soil
6. Assists in planning and levelling of the land
However, it is important to note that tilling is a costly and time-consuming process if done manually.
CROP– While choosing between which crop to sow at a given time of the year, a farmer must take into account whether it is the right time to grow a certain crop in terms of the revenue it generates. Be it rice, wheat or millet, a farmer must know which crops will give him the best market price when harvested at a given point of time. What is the actual market demand of the crops? What kind of fertilisers would be suitable for him? Is the climate and land he selects suitable for his crops? What quantity of such fertilisers does he require? Does he have the appropriate irrigation system to meet his water requirements and if not then at what cost would he acquire such infrastructures. What is the gross capacity of his land in terms of the total volume of produce? Are the seeds prone to diseases or are they healthy enough? What land preparation techniques does he need? How would he harvest, sort and sell his produce in the market and at what price? There are numerous such considerations.
The above cases might sound challenging but along with experience over a course of time, it comes easy for the farmers to tackle the situation by consulting with the government agricultural, Nowadays the internet has also been quite handy in providing ample of information to the farmers.
Planting of seeds-
1. Seeding must be done uniformly throughout the tilled land. Overseeding may lead to the growth of unhealthy crops.
2. Sowing of good quality of crops
3. Proper weed curbing techniques should be used. Weed controlling chemicals should be used to prevent the weed from getting into the water and the fertilisers meant for seeds
4. Apply chemicals to help in proper germination
5. Another useful strategy to control weed is to make a furrow in the ground by zero tilling or conservation tilling. This will allow the weeds to grow. Now kill the weeds by applying chemicals. When this is done, again make a furrow and sow the seeds.
Every crop needs water to survive. Supply of adequate water is a mandatory task of the farmer. The plant roots need water to channelize it to the other parts of the plant and hence it prevents the crops from getting dry. Farmers must cater to the needs of the crop as per its water requirement and incorporate suitable sources of irrigation like Tube wells, wells, lakes, canals, dams, rivers and ponds.
Fertilisation and crop growth
Constant monitoring of the sprouted seed is an integral job of a farmer. He must ensure that there shouldn’t be any moisture scarcity in the soil. Fertilisers should be applied regularly as per the crop’s requirement. Phosphates and urea have to apply at different phases of seeding. Farmers must consult a crop expert to seek for new solutions.
This is the ultimate stage where the farmer finally tastes the fruit of his labour and realises the value of his crops. Both modern and conventional methods are used to harvest the crops depending on the resources available at the disposal of the farmer. Different regions in terms of countries have their distinctive ways to harvest. Marketing of the crops is generally done by a private or a central government agency