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Why is Summer Ploughing Useful?

Summer ploughing increases the water content of soil and reduces soil erosion. This ploughing reduces weeds and controls pests. Summer ploughing is very important for both the rain-fed as well as irrigated land.

Dr Poonam Batra
Summer ploughing increases the water content of soil and reduces soil erosion.
Summer ploughing increases the water content of soil and reduces soil erosion.

Healthy soil is the foundation of productive, sustainable agriculture. It acts as a dynamic living system that delivers multiple ecosystem services, such as sustaining water quality and plant productivity, controlling soil nutrient recycling decomposition, and removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Soil health is closely associated with sustainable agriculture because soil microorganism diversity and activity are the main components of soil health. Summer or deep ploughing is the operation done during the summer months when the land is left fallow. Summer ploughing means ploughing the agricultural field across the slope during summer with the help of ploughing machineries like an inter cultivator that has attachments like a ridge and plough.

The main primary purpose of summer ploughing is to open the soil crust with a deep plough while at the same time turning the soil for disinfection with help from sunrays. Summer ploughing is ploughing to a depth greater than 50 cm as compared to ordinary ploughing which rarely exceeds 20 cm. To recharge soil profile, summer ploughing is very essential during pre-monsoon showers in May month.

It helps sowing of seeds and planting of crops immediately after the start of the southwest monsoon. Summer ploughing increases the water content of soil and reduces soil erosion. This ploughing reduces weeds and controls pests. 

Summer ploughing is very important for both the rain-fed as well as irrigated land. Appearances of cracks will be avoided in the field and the rainwater is also get settled and stored under the ground. The following are the benefits which farmers can get with the help of summer ploughing.

Benefits of summer ploughing:

  • The first and main benefit is to improve the infiltration and permeability capacity of the soil, which increases the moisture conservation capacity of the soil. So, plant roots can get moisture easily to grow.

  • Capacity to absorb rainwater increases in the soil. Atmospheric nitrate mixed with water enters the soil and then improves soil fertility.

  • Due to two to three times of ploughing the soil gets alternate drying and cooling. This helps to improve the soil structure.

  • Ploughing improves soil aeration which helps the multiplication of microorganisms. This microorganism’s decomposition of organic matter results in rich nutrients available to the crops.

  • Summer ploughing prevents the surface runoff i.e., soil erosion, and improves moisture conservation hence refilling the water table.

  • Pests present on plant debris are exposed to sunlight due to turning the soil so that the pest is destroyed and also preventing the spread.

Keeping all the benefits of summer ploughing under consideration, farmers are advised to deep plough the fields as some amount of rainfall is received recently in the majority of the states of India.

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