Benefits of summer ploughing Balabandha village, Patna block, Keonjhar district Sir, Namaskar! Namaskar! I was going this way and saw all of you sitting here so I stopped for a while. What are you discussing? We went to our field for some work and are now taking rest here for a while. We were discussing about the crops that we will grow this year and where to get seeds. Last year, we did not have a good harvest, the crop was infested heavily with disease and pests. Did you go for summer ploughing last year? Sir, what is that? It is a good practice. I will explain to you some time but I have to leave for some other work. I will come to your village tomorrow and explain summer ploughing to you in detail. For now I will explain you briefly about it. If you plough the soil in summer before Kharif paddy cultivation, you will reap many benefits. Have you ploughed your land this year? We are doing that now. I will come to your field tomorrow morning and explain more about this. I am leaving and come again tomorrow morning. Namaskar! Namaskar! Where are you coming from? The Agriculture Officer came today and explained about summer ploughing. Where is brother? He is inside. I will call him now. Son! Can you please come here. What happened? We were sitting under the mango tree and the agriculture officer came. He explained about summer ploughing. He will come near our land tomorrow and explain in more detail. We will go there in the morning. Ok. Let’s go together. Yes. He will tell us how to do it. I also want to come with all of you. No no. You stay at home and take care of the child. It is quite hot outside. If you want to come, kindly bring food and water in between. So, we will go tomorrow in the morning. Okay. You call us once the officer comes. Okay. Namaskar! Namaskar! Today we will learn about summer ploughing. Yes. Why should we do summer ploughing? Summer ploughing means ploughing the land where crops were previously grown. This should be done before starting to cultivate the crop. The soil will open up and get exposed to sun. This will kill the latent larvae and eggs of harmful insects and pests from the previous crop. As a result there will be less infestation of the current crop. Second, ploughing will make the soil lighter, ensuring better air circulation. The roots will grow faster and the plants will be healthier. Third, it will increase the water holding capacity of the soil. As this region is rain-fed and doesn’t receive monsoon rain in time, increased water holding capacity of the soil will help the plants survive for a long time even if there is no rain for few days. Summer ploughing will also help to remove the weed plants. This will reduce the weed emergence in the subsequent crops, thereby reducing the labor cost for weeding. Since there are so many benefits, please let us know how it should be done! You have asked a good question. It should be done in summer before we start Kharif paddy cultivation. We can plough the soil with the help of a traditional plough or use a tractor – drawn power tiller. We can also use a tractor – drawn nine tined power tiller. If we ploughed the soil in the East – West direction in the previous crop, then summer ploughing now for the current crop should be done in opposite direction i.e. in North – South direction. This will ensure proper opening of the soil. and all harmful insects, pests and their larvae and eggs will get exposed to sun and die. So, ploughing should be done before monsoon rain arrives. Once the rain falls on the soil, the seeds of weed plants will germinate. And when you plough the soil again after 10 to 15 days, all weeds will die and get mixed with soil. This way, the soil will also get some organic manure. What are the benefits of summer ploughing? 1. better air circulation and water holding capacity of the soil 2. uproots the weeds which then dry out and die 3. kills the previous year’s harmful pathogens 4. helps in mixing compost with the soil You go home now. Do not come again. It is quite hot outside. You should not carry compost to the field. Take the child home. Please go back, wash your hands with soap and feed the child. Okay. I am leaving. How much compost should we use for one acre of land? You should add 3 to 4 cartloads of compost before second plough so that it will help to mix the compost in the soil. It will enhance soil water holding capacity as well as soil fertility. But remember that you should always wash your hands with soap after handling compost. Why is it important for all family members to wash hands after working in the garden and after handling compost? Washing hands (after working in the garden and after handling compost) with soap helps to avoid illness. Thank you very much for explaining summer ploughing to us. We will definitely follow this. I am happy that you understood the message. Thank you for this. I hope that you will explain this process to the rest of the farmers in your villages so that they will also benefit. I am leaving now. Namaskar! Namaskar! Paresh Kumar Dash, Assistant Agriculture Officer Dasharathi Sethi, Agriculture Worker Shiba Kumar Mahanta Jayakrishna Mahanta Jadumani Mahanta Rina Mahanta Padmanabha Mahanta Thank you.