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MODULE 1: THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD LAND PREPARATION
This is the first of 7 training modules A GROUP EXTENSION GUIDE USING PICTURES
Cotton-maize - 1 - Module 1: Tillage and land preparation
Picture LP1: Weeds in a field of cotton
Question: Do you recognize the problems in this cotton field? Answer: Yes, it is full of weeds and yields will be very low Question: What other problems do you find in cotton? Answer: Problems of crop establishment, low soil fertility, drought, soil erosion, pests, diseases and low quality cotton
Explain that the discussions will involve six training modules
The importance of good tillage and alternatives for land preparation Alternatives for soil conservation Alternative methods of crop establishment Alternatives for weed control using mechanical methods Weed management using herbicides Testing and evaluating different alternatives
Cotton-maize - 2 - Module 1: Tillage and land preparation
Cotton-maize .3 .Module 1: Tillage and land preparation .
sunlight and rain ………………………. air.4 .Module 1: Tillage and land preparation 2) 3) ..Picture LP2: Plant needs from soil Question: What are the requirements for good crop growth? Answer: . Explain 1) Good land preparation will help to produce a seed bed by crumbling and loosening the soil .Good soil.This will help crop establishment and make it easier for a crop to grow and produce good yields Loosening the soil will also make it easier for plant roots to grow and produce stronger crops and better yields Good tillage will let air enter the soil to help plants grow strong Cotton-maize .
5 .Module 1: Tillage and land preparation .Cotton-maize .
the plant is starved of water.Picture LP3: Poor tillage resulting in a plough pan Question: Do you recognise what this picture is? Answer: Soil that has been badly ploughed. Cotton-maize . 5) In hard soils. reduce root and plant growth and give poor yields. Stunted plants and a plough pan. This is called a plough pan. This is because after rain. will suffer more from pests and diseases and give poor yields or die. 2) Poor tillage can result in a dense compacted layer just below the depth of tillage. 4) Planting in poorly tilled soil will slow down crop establishment. this can result in hard. 6) Crops in poorly tilled soil which are weak.6 . Explain: 1) Poor tillage occurs when the soils are too wet. 3) If crop residues and manure are not incorporated into the soil. the soils are too wet and the crops are starved of air and once the soils dry out.Module 1: Tillage and land preparation . some plants may not be strong enough to grow and will die. dry soils with low soil fertility. where crops give poor yields or even die. as the roots cannot grow through the plough pan. or when the soil has been cultivated to the same depth for a number of years.
Module 1: Tillage and land preparation .Cultivation/Plough pan Cotton-maize .7 .
Explain in this situation · Weeding has to be done earlier · More labour is required for weeding · Weeds provide a host for pests and diseases · There is competition with the young crop Cotton-maize .8 .Picture LP4: Badly ploughed field Question : Do you recognise what this picture is? Answer: A field that has been badly ploughed and weeds have not been buried properly.Module 1: Tillage and land preparation .
Module 1: Tillage and land preparation .Cotton-maize .9 .
10 . This will improve the moisture content of the soil and help crops to grow stronger and give good yields.This will improve the soil structure and make the soil more fertile which will help crops to grow strong and give good yields. 2) Poorly tilled soils will not hold water and will get very hot in the dry periods. 3) Good tillage will incorporate crop residues and manure into the soil . pests and diseases. healthy plants and no plough pan. This will give poor yields and the crop may even die. 4) Good tillage will also help to control weeds.Picture LP5: Well tilled soil Question: Do you recognise what this picture is? Answer: Soil that has been well prepared. Explain 1) Good tillage will increase water infiltration into the soil.Module 1: Tillage and land preparation . Cotton-maize .
11 .Cotton-maize .Module 1: Tillage and land preparation .
12 . 5 The depth and width of the cut of the plough should be correctly set. reduce water infiltration and encourage soil erosion. Just before the rains begin give your draught animals extra feed to make them strong for tillage work. 4 If draught animals are used for land preparation.Picture LP6: Land preparation using an animal drawn plough Question: Do you recognise what this picture is? Answer: This is a farmer ploughing his lands.Module 1: Tillage and land preparation . Explain. Land preparation can take place 1) in early winter (April-June) on land that was fallow. This will stop plants emerging. Animals should be re-trained before the first rains so that they are ready to work well for land preparation and planting. 2) late winter from June until the rains arrive. Some points to consider 1 A well prepared soil should have soil clods of many different sizes. 3 If draught animals are used for land preparation. the quality of the tillage will depend on their training. 2 A fine seed bed without soil clods of many different sizes will crust and cap easily under heavy rainfall. animals are normally weak at the beginning of the rains and have had little food. Cotton-maize . or 3) Spring ploughing after the rains have started Discuss which is best. or following a maize or groundnut crop. Good tillage requires good training. and the situation in which it can be undertaken. This encourages water infiltration and reduces soil erosion.
Module 1: Tillage and land preparation .13 .Cotton-maize .
Winter ploughing allows Land to be prepared before the beginning of next rains and allows early planting The first rains to infiltrate into the soil well Crop residues to be incorporated into the soil to improve structure and fertility Better prevention of fires in fields Control of dry season weeds This method is suitable when following maize in the rotation.Module 1: Tillage and land preparation . early winter ploughing will help to control them during the dry season. April or May. easy to work and the draught animals are still in good condition.PICTURE LP7: EARLY WINTER PLOUGHING Question: Do you recognise what this picture is? Answer: This is a farmer ploughing in early winter after maize or groundnuts. Cotton-maize . when there is still some moisture in the soil and draught animals still have plenty of food and are strong. If weeds are a big problem. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of early winter ploughing Early winter ploughing is when you plough the land just after harvesting maize or groundnuts in March. Early winter ploughing is normally carried out as soon as possible after the maize harvest in March/ April when the soil is still moist. It will also help to conserve moisture from the last season.14 .
Module 1: Tillage and land preparation .EARLY WINTER PLOUGHING Cotton-maize .15 .
PICTURE LP8: LATE WINTER OR EARLY SPRING PLOUGHING BEFORE THE RAINS Question : Do you recognise what this picture is? Answer : This is a farmer ploughing in late winter. Late winter or early spring ploughing allows Land to be prepared before the beginning of the next rains still allowing early planting Early rains to infiltrate into the soil well Any crop residues to be incorporated into the soil to improve structure and fertility Some control of any dry season weeds Cotton-maize . then late winter or early spring ploughing from July onwards is an alternative. This helps to control weeds during the latter half of the dry season and helps to conserve soil moisture from any winter or early rains. This is usually done after the cotton harvest.16 . Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of late winter ploughing If early winter ploughing is not possible because of the cotton harvest. possibly after destruction of cotton residues. once the stalks have been destroyed.Module 1: Tillage and land preparation .
LATE WINTER or EARLY SPRING PLOUGHING Cotton-maize .Module 1: Tillage and land preparation .17 .
just after the onset of the first soaking rains. If it is delayed well after the first soaking rains it will cause late planting with consequent yield reduction. Spring ploughing is carried out in November and December.18 . Spring ploughing may be carried out on already winter ploughed land or unploughed land. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of spring ploughing.PICTURE LP9: LATE SPRING PLOUGHING (AFTER RAINS) Question: Do you recognise what this picture is? Answer: This is a picture of a farmer ploughing after the rains have started. This method of land preparation will control the existing emerged weeds to make sure that cotton can be planted in a weed-free seedbed. Spring ploughing Allows land to be prepared at start of the rains Is often done at the same time as planting May means that the first rains are not used by the crop Incorporates some of the previous crop residues into the soil Controls weeds that have grown during the first rains and ensures a clean seedbed Cotton-maize .Module 1: Tillage and land preparation .
19 .Module 1: Tillage and land preparation .SPRING PLOUGHING Cotton-maize .
weeds.20 . Use of ripper tines when the soil is too wet can lead to small clods being produced that encourage erosion.PICTURE LP10: REDUCED OR MINIMUM TILLAGE OPTIONS Question: Do you recognise these pictures? Answer: Opening planting lines with draught animals. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of reduced tillage. Implements designed for oxen may be too heavy for a single pair of donkeys. pests and diseases. made with the plough or the ripper tine follow the contour. Cotton-maize . can be overcome by using rotations. A Ripper can be used to break a plough pan or a soil cap and to open planting lines just before the onset of the rains. It should however be noted this is only possible for cotton following a maize crop. Hand planting. improved fallows and possibly cover crops. so that as much rainfall as possible infiltrates into the soil and erosion is minimised. Reduced or minimum tillage aims to reduce the amount of soil disturbance by tillage to a minimum level and maximise the use of maize crop residues as a mulch to protect the soil from erosion and improve soil structure and fertility. Cotton residues need to be destroyed in order Many of the reduced tillage problems that farmers are worried about including erosion.Module 1: Tillage and land preparation . It is important that planting lines.
21 .REDUCED OR MINIMUM TILLAGE OPTIONS Opening planting lines into residues of previous maize crop using a plough (Oxen or donkeys can be used to pull the plough) Opening planting holes into residues of the previous crop Cotton-maize .Module 1: Tillage and land preparation .
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