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Top 6 Basic Steps of Growing Crops
Step # 1. Tillage of Soil:
Tillage is the physical manipulation of soil with tools and implements to result good tilth for better germination of seeds and subsequent growth of the crop. Tillage is the tilling of land for bringing about condition of soil that are favorable for the cultivation of crops. Tilth implies to the physical condition of soil in its relation to plant growth. Tillage is the cause and tilth is the effect. Tilth is brought by tillage. Tillage is the primary function of cultivation and it is laborious and expensive cultural practice.
Tillage helps to replace natural vegetation with useful crops and is necessary to provide a favorable edaphic environment for establishment, growth and yield of crop plants. Tillage helps to improve physical condition of soil, control of weeds, insect pests and diseases and also to bring the nutrient available to plant. The cultivation is not possible without tillage operations. The crop production depends on good tillage operations.
There must be sufficient moisture in the soil for good tillage. Tillage is quite impossible in fully dry soil. On the other hand, tillage in wet land having sufficient water brings puddling condition of soil which is favorable for cultivation of transplanted paddy (Oryza sativa). Wheat (Triticum sp), onion (Alium cepa) etc.
Tillage helps to make the soil porous and loose, to increase aeration, incorporate the organic matters and to increase the rate of their decomposition, to make the land weed free and make it a home for the crop to grow. Tillage requirement is different for different condition.
Step # 2. Sowing of Seeds:
Tillage is followed in seed bed preparation. The sowing of seed is an art of placing seed in the soil to have good germination and good stand of crop in the field. Seeds are the protectors and propagators of their kind. Good seed is the base of any successful farming industry. The success of crop depends on the quality of seed used for sowing or planting.
Method of Sowing Seed:
There are some common methods used for sowing of crop seeds as follows:
Broadcasting: Broadcasting is a very common method of sowing seed. In this method, seed are sown by scattering of seed by hand all over the prepared field followed by covering with wooden bank or harrow for contact of seed with soil.
Line Sowing or Drilling:
In-line sowing seeds are sown in lines with the help of implements such as seed drill or seed-cup-fertilizer drill or mechanical seed drill.
Dibbling: In the dibbling method, the seeds are sown by dibbling of seeds in a particular place.
Putting Seeds behind the Plough:
In Putting Seed behind the Plough method seeds are sown by dropping of seeds behind the plow in the furrows with the help of manual labour by hand.
Step # 3. Transplanting of Plants:
Transplanting is the process of removal of actively growing plant from the nursery bed and planting them in a main field for further growth, development and production. The seedlings are transplanted in a well prepared field for raising crop plants and transplanting should be done in late hours i.e. afternoon of the day, so that the plants may be established in a cool weather at night and may recover from the shock of transplanting before the sun comes up in the next morning. Transplanting should be completed as early as possible after removing the plants from the nursery. The soil around the roots may be compressed lightly to provide more soil root contact and to remove any air gap and consequently the accumulation of more water in the rhizosphere. Watering in the morning and afternoon for 4-5 days should be done in case of vegetable and flower and this method helps in quick establishment of seedlings. The gap-filling may also be done in the place from where the seedlings are died.
Paddy (Oryza sativa) transplanter is a specialized trans-planter fitted to transplant paddy seedlings on the paddy field. Paddy transplanters are used mainly in East, Southeast, and South Asia. Paddy Transplanter was first developed in Japan in 1960. The Mechanical transplanting of Paddy (Oryza sativa) is the process of transplanting specifically raising seedlings of Paddy (Oryza sativa) as a mat (mat type nursery) using a self-propelled mechanical paddy transplanter at pre-determined and the desired spacing.
(i) Seedling tray – The mechanical Paddy (Oryza sativa) transplanter is fitted with a tin-based tray like a rooftop on which mat type nurseries are placed during the operation.
(ii) Seedlings tray shifter – The seedlings shifter that shifts the seedlings tray like a carriage of typewriter.
(iii) Plural pick up fork – The plural pickup fork that picks up the seedlings from the mat type nursery on seedling tray and put the seedling into the earth as if the seedlings were taken between human fingers.
There are some advantages of using Paddy (Oryza sativa) Trans-planter as follows:
(i) Ensure uniform spacing and optimum plant density (30-35 hills per q.m with 2-3 seedlings per hill)
(iii) Efficient use of resources by saving on labor (29 man day per hectare), water-saving up to 10 percent.
(iv) Less transplanting shock, early vigor of seedlings, better tillering and uniform maturity of Paddy (Oryza sativa) that facilitate timely harvest and reduces the harvest losses.
(v) Less incidence of “Balance” disease due to less root injury.
(vi) Improving soil health through eliminating puddling.
(i) Type – Manually operated.
(ii) Power requirement – One operator and one labor to transport mat seedlings.
(iii) Weight – 17 kg
(iv) Capacity – 0.25 hectare per day.
(v) General Information – The machine consists of seeding tray forks, handle and skids. By pressing the handle, forks pick up seeding and plant them in 6 rows at a time.
(vi) For transplanting mat type (Oryza sativa) seedling, suitable for all transplanted Paddy varieties.
Step # 4. Intercultural Operations:
The different agricultural operations that are adopted in between the sowing of seeds or transplanting of seedlings and prior to harvesting of crops are collectively known as ‘intercultural operations’.
The important activities of intercultural operation are as follows:
(a) Weed Control:
The unwanted plants that interfere with the growth and development of crop plants are called weeds. Weed interferes with man’s utilization of land, water in various ways. Weeds compete with crop plants for water, space, light and plant nutrients. Weeds in this way reduce the yield of the crop.
The control method of weed may broadly be classified as follows:
(1) Cultural Methods: The cultural methods that are employed for controlling the weeds are as follows:
(i) Crop rotation
(ii) Cultivation of cover crops.
(iii) Changing the date of sowing and seed rate.
(iv) Catch cropping.
(v) Bare fallowing and bastard fallowing.
(vi) Stale seedbed technique.
(vii) Water management.
(2) Mechanical Methods:
The mechanical method includes the use of different implements and power to reduce the infestation and growth of weeds.
The mechanical methods that are employed for controlling the weeds are as follows:
(ii) Hand weeding.
(vii) Burning and flaming.
(3) Biological Methods:
In biological methods of weed control, a natural enemy of plants is used which is harmless to the desired plants.
The different types of living beings are useful for biological methods of weed control as follows:
(iii) Fish (e.g. Common carp, Tilapia etc.)
(iv) Herbivores animal (e.g. Cattle, goat, sheep, pig, deer etc.)
(4) Chemical Method: The chemical control of weed involves the use of herbicides.
The herbicides that are used to control weeds are of two types as follows:
(i) Selective Herbicides:
The herbicides that removes or destroy the certain weeds from certain crop field are called “selective herbicides”.
Examples – Anilophos 30 EC, Alachlor 50 EC, Atrazin 50WP, Diuron 80 WP, Dalapon 80WP, and 85 WP, Diuron 80WP, Fluchloralin 45EC, Metribuzin 70 OWP, Oxyfluorfen 23.5EC, Pendimethalin 30EC, Petilachlor 30EC, Propanil 35EC, Thiobencarp 50EC, 2.4-D etc.
(ii) Non-Selective Herbicides:
The herbicides that kill all the vegetation in which they come in contact with irrespective weed and plants are called “Non-selective herbicides”
Example – Glyphosate 41 SL, Parquet Dichloride 24 SL, Sulphuric acid, Sodium arsenite, Sodium chlorate etc.
(b) Moisture Conservation:
The water losses by evaporation can be controlled by intercultural operation, natural mulching is very important process of preserving soil moisture.
(c) Good Aeration: Good aeration is beneficial for the germination of seeds and respiration of plant roots and soil organisms. Aeration is not good in hard and compact soil. Loosening of soil by different agricultural implement helps to incorporate the air into the soil.
(d) Manure Incorporation: The top dressed fertilizer and applied agrochemical are incorporated during intercultural operation. The applied fertilizers get lost by volatilization if they are not incorporated properly in the soil.
(e) Control of Insect Pests and Diseases:
The insect pests and diseases are the common threat for crop production. They cause crop failure many times. So they should be controlled by adopting different methods. The inter-cultivation is to be done with light tools and implements and it should be scheduled after rains or irrigation when the soil comes in workable condition. In some crops, irrigation and drainage channel are prepared and earthling up is done during inter-cultivation.
Step # 5. Manuring:
Plants require different nutrients for their growth and development. Manures and fertilizers serve as a source of plant nutrients. Crop cultivation needs manuring at proper times with a suitable quantity of manures and fertilizers.
Step # 6. Plants Protection:
The crop plants are affected by pests (i.e. weeds, insect pests, diseases etc.). The pests cause crop failure affecting the yield of the crop.
They should be controlled in time by adopting any one of the following methods:
(1) Cultural Method:
The cultural method is very effective method and less expensive in comparison to the other method. The cultural method that is taken during care and management of crop for the cultivation of crop minimizes the incidence of pests. As a result, no need of more implement and spending extra expenditure.
The different cultural methods that are undertaken are as follows:
(i) Deep Tillage:
Tillage is the physical manipulation of soil. Deep tillage helps to expose the hibernating pupa and adult insects which are destroyed by bright sunlight or killed by insectivorous birds. Summer ploughing has an advantages of controlling soil born insect pest and disease organisms.
(ii) Changing the Time of Sowing or Transplanting:
The insect pests and diseases are found to attack the crops in specific time of life cycle of the crop. The crops that are sown or transplanted earlier become hard and can resist the attack of insect pests. The crops that are sown late in that period, the incidence of the attack of insect pests decreases due to want favorable environment.
(iii) Removal of Weeds:
Weeds affects the growth of crop plant and the crop plants becomes weak due to the infestation of weeds. As a result, the crop plants are affected easily by the insect pests. The weeds act as an alternative host. The insect pests and disease organisms takes their shelter in weeds after harvesting of crop and they get their entry in crop plants and do harm the crops.
The virus disease that occurs in Croton sparsiflora, a common weed, spreads on Lady’s finger (Abelmoschus esculentus L). The spread of virus disease minimizes, if this weed is controlled in time. The land and around the land should be kept free from weeds in order to check the spread of diseases and insect pests.
(iv) Crop Rotation:
The disease and insect pests are specific to crop. The insect pests and diseases of Paddy (Oryza sativa L) do not attack the Wheat (Triticum sp) and vice versa. Cultivation of same crop year after year causes the attack of specific insect pest and disease. Crop rotation is the planned sequence of cropping. The rotation of crop is found to minimize the attack of insect pest and diseases.
(v) Removal of Stubbles:
The stubbles of some crops such as Paddy (Oryza sativa L), Wheat (Triticum sp). Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L), Jute (Corchorus sp) remains in the field after their harvesting in which the insect pest takes shelter.
As for example, the pupa of stem borer of Paddy (Oryza sativa L) takes shelter in the stubbles and the adult emerge in next session. The adult attacks the succeeding crop by reproducing vigorously and causes damage to the crop. For this reason, the stubbles should be destroyed by burning. This method minimizes the attack of insect pests.
(vi) Encouraging the Insectivorous Birds:
The insectivorous birds live by feeding insects and causes their destruction. The bamboo with branches should be placed in the field to provide shelter of insectivorous birds. This is an effective method of controlling the Jute semilooper (Anomis sabulifera).
(vii) Irrigation and Drainage:
Some insect pests such as Potato cutworm (Agrotis ypsilon), White grub (Anomala sp) etc., live beneath the soil. Irrigation given in the land causes their death due to suffocation. On the other some insect pest such as Paddy hispa (Dicladispa armigera Oliv) gets disperse by irrigation water and causes damage to the crop. But proper drainage helps to reduce the incidence of such insect pest.
(viii) Line Sowing or Transplanting:
In line sown or transplanted crop, Plants remain in a particular distance which provide opportunity of noticing the presence of insect pest. The insect pest is possible to control by hand picking.
Application of balanced fertilizer promotes the growth and development and plants become hardy which can resist the attack of insect pest. On the other hand, application of higher doses of nitrogenous fertilizer causes the succulent growth of the plant and such plants are attracted by insect pest and disease organism.
(x) Trap Crop:
The trap crop reduces the incidence of insect pest and disease. Flea is very destructive insect pest and generally attack the Mustard (Brassica juncea). Planting of Wild mustard in between the Mustard crop reduces the incidence of Flea beetal as the flea beetal attack the wild mustard and Mustard gets escaped from the attack of flea. The incidence of Aphid (Lipaphis erysimi Davis) becomes low if Marigold is planted as boarder crop.
At present, insect pest and disease resistant variety of different crops has been evolved. The incidence of insect pest and disease is possible to reduce by cultivating such variety in insect pest and disease prone areas.
(2) Mechanical Method:
The insect pest and disease can be controlled by adopting the different mechanical method as follows:
(i) Hand Picking:
The hand picking is a very efficient method of controlling insect pest. The eggs and larvae of Jute semilooper (Anomis sabulifera Guen) and Hairy caterpillar of Jute (Spilosoma obliqua) remains gathered on the under surface of leaf. The destruction of leaf along with eggs and larvae is found effecting in controlling these insect pests. But this method is labor intensive and is not applicable for controlling insect pest in a vast area of land.
The netting is found effective for controlling some insect pest such as Paddy hispa (Dicladispa armigera Oliv), Paddy bug (Leptocorisa sp). But netting is also labor intensive method.
(iii) Light Trapping:
The light trapping is found very efficient method of controlling some insect pest such as Paddy bug (Leptocorisa sp), leaf and plant hopper (Nephotetti sp) etc., as they are attacked by light. The burning of straw, trashes, dry grasses etc., around the crop field is also found effective in controlling the insect pest.
(iv) Removal of the Affected Parts of the Plant:
The brinjal stem borer remains inside the stem during pupal stage and causes the damage of plant. The incidence of this insect pest is possible to reduce by removal of the affected parts. The mealy bug remains underside of the leaf in colonized form.
The destruction of leaf along with mealy bug by burning or burrowing under the soil is the best method of controlling the mealy bug. The clipping of leaf of the paddy (Oryza sativa L) seedlings is found beneficial to minimize the incidence of Paddy hispa (Dicladispa armigera Oliv) if this insect pest appears in the seedbed.
(v) Rope Dragging:
The rope that is dipped in kerosene oil or any insecticide, if dragged over the insect pest affected plant, causes the fall of the insect pest on the ground. The water is to be kept in the land by irrigation. The insect pest gets killed in water due to suffocation. The Paddy hispa (Dicladispa armigera Oliv), Paddy case worm (Nymphulla depunctalis Guen), Paddy leaf folder (Cnaphalocrosis medinalis) etc., can be controlled by adopting this method.
(vi) Poison Baiting:
The poison baiting is found efficient to control some insect pest such as Potato cut worm (Agrotis ypsilon).
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