Cultural practices in agriculture, Cultural practices are all the activities carried out on the farm before, during and after planting, cultural practices of crop seeds or seedlings.
Pre-planting and post-planting operation in cultural practices
Agriculture, farming, agricultural products and crops classification, cultural practices in agricultural science
Cultural practices are all the activities carried out on the farm before, during and after the planting of crop seeds or seedlings.
They are classified into pre-planting, planting and post-planting operations.
Pre-planting operations as cultural practices
These are operations carried out before sowing.
They include choosing of site, clearing, stumping, plotting, ploughing, harrowing, and ridging(pre-planting operation)
1. Choice of site cultural practice
The choice of a farm site is a part of the activities before planting. This is guarded by:
(a) The nature of the land (Topography): This is, whether the land is hilly or level. A fairly level land should be chosen to reduce the cost of land preparation and erosion control problems.
Agriculture, farming, agricultural products and crops classification, cultural practices in agricultural science
(b) The type of soil: This should be considered in the choice of farm site or location. This is because soil is the medium for plant growth and poor soil will produce poor yield.
(c) Availability of inputs such as labour and planting materials: The workers to be employed that will work on the farm must be available in the area where the farm is to be located.
Crop planting materials should also be available. The ease of transporting farm produce and sale also guards the choice of a farm site.
2. Clearing of the site as a cultural practice
clearing of the farm site is key to agricultural cultural practices. The farm site is cleared by means of hand tools such as cutlass or implement such as bulldozer. The equipment used depends on the nature of the vegetation in the area.
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On a large scale, bulldozers may be used to remove forest vegetation.
Cultural practices can be carried out on the farm to cut under-growths and plants, especially in the rainforest area.
This helps to add ash which is an important mineral to the Nigerian economy used by the soil alkaline. The alkalinity of the soil leads to an increase in the nitrification process and available cation.
The remains of burnt plants are packed and re-burnt.
The larger trunks are left to decay in the case of smallholding, but bulldozers may be used to push them off in the case of mechanized agriculture
3. Stumping cultural practice This cultural practice is the removal of plant stumps and roots from the soil, it is a tedious operation.
The practice is usually, avoided in small-scale private farms. Where crop rotation system is practised, stumping is done.
4. Plotting or laying out. plotting as a cultural practice is The act of dividing the farmland into sections is called plotting or laying out. This is usually based on the report of soil survey. Soil survey shows the nature of the land (Topography).
Soil types nutrients status, soil and water conservation methods to be used on the land. It also shows where to locate the various farmsteads. Plotting can be done by using the 3-4-5 method, How to use the 3-4-5 metric method in farm plotting:
Erect a pole at about the centre of the farmland. From pole A, take a baseline AB 4m long with a string tied to the pole.
Agriculture, farming, agricultural products and crops classification, cultural practices in agricultural science
Tie another string 3m long to the pole at A and extend to C. A third string 5m long is also tied to pole B and is extended to meet pole C thereby forming a triangle with a right angle at A.
arrange poles along line AB to the end of the farm. The same is done to the sideline AC. Ensure that you sight them to give straight lines.
The length and breadth of the farm so measured will make it easy to divide the land into plots. Paths are used to demarcate the land into blocks.
Method of Farm Plotting in cultural practices
Land tillage is the operation that follows after the land area has been cleared, stumped and plotted. Tillage involves the opening up of the soil for seed planting.
The purpose of tillage is the same whether hand tools or mechanized equipment are used.
Importance of land tillage practices
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1. It provides a good soil environment for germination and emergence of seeds.
2. It encourages aggregation of particles for better contact between seed roots and soil.
3. It helps to improve the aeration of the soil.
4. It assists the farmer in weed control.
uses of Organic matter during cultural practices
are incorporated into the soil during tillage operations, thereby increasing soil nutrients.
6. It improves the soil\’s physical conditions such as the infiltration rate of water in the soil and water holding capacity.
(a) Ploughing cultural practices
This involves the tilling or turning of the soil upside down.
It can be done with a hoe, a spade, or a tractor-driven plough in tropical regions or mould-board plough, used mostly in temperate regions.
Animals could be used to draft the plough during tilling. It is usually the first equipment to be used on cleared farmland. The plough cuts and inverts large lumps of soil.
Weed seeds are then buried below-cultivated seeds. The disc plough is more suitable for use in the heavy, stick) and dry tropical sails with the mouldboard plough.
(b) Harrowing cultural practices
The harrow is the next piece of equipment used after the land has been ploughed. It is used to further break down the lumps of soil cut by the plough into smaller pieces.
This is called the pulverization of soil.
The disc harrows are more suitable for use in tropical environments. After harrowing it may be possible to grow crops such as rice which do not require seed beds or ridges.
(c) Ridging: This is the last stage in land preparation for the planting of seeds or seedlings.
It can be done by means of Indian hoes tractor-driven disc ridger or mouldboard ridger.
Animals could be used to drag ridges for ridge-making.
Ridging is done normally across the slope of the land to prevent it from being washed away by erosion. It is spaced 1m apart.
This is measured from the top or crest of one ridge to the other. The length of the ridge depends on available land and the choice of the farmer.
A standard ridge should be 25m long. It has a conically shaped top or rest or triangular shape. The trench between two ridges is called a furrow.
Tie-ridges can be constructed at intervals between two ridges, especially in school farms.
They are also called cross-bars. They help to keep water in the furrow for plant use in the ridges and prevent water erosion.
Ridging increases the depth of surface soil for better crop growth.
Manure is better provided for crop use during ridging. Ridging provides fine tilt that makes it easier for roots to penetrate and get food for plants in the soil. Other forms of seed beds are
(b) use Mound in cultural practices
This is a raised heap with a circular base. It is made with hoes and used for growing root and tuber crops such as yam, Cocoa-yam, cassava, potatoes and others.
More than one crop can be sown at one time on it. It is commonly used in Ibo farming communities of Nigeria, Mound for root and tuber crops.
(iii) Flat seed bed: This is used in low rainfall areas or periods of level and well-drained land. There may be no other construction in this case, after farmland has been ploughed and harrowed.
It is used to foreclose, growing crops such as rice.
(iv) bed: This should be a Special bed used for the initial growth of crops before transplanting to the field or root bed us^ growing crops to maturity.
A bed generally is a raised top soil with a square or rectangular flat top. It is suitable for vegetable crop production, though, other crops such as tobacco, cocoa, and citrus could be raised first in a seed bed; (nursery bed), ft is usually 1.20 m wide and 25 m long for a standard bed.
Planting operations in cultural practices
planting operations as a cultural practice are activities carried out by the farmer after lane preparation. These practices are what the farmer should do or ought to be aware of while the seeds, seedlings or planting materials are being put in the soil. Before planting:
(i) Planting materials such -as seeds, seedlings, cuttings, suckers and so on should be taken from healthy plant sources.
(ii) They should be free of diseases and pest infestation.
(iii) They should be viable and properly stored before use.
(iv) Planting materials of high quality should be bought and collected from the Ministry of Agriculture.
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Agro-Service Centre or Seed Multiplication Units. The activities associated with planting operations include planting dates, planting dates, seed rate, nursery and nursery practices, capping, transplanting and planting depth.
1. Date of planting
This refers to the period of the year at which a particular crop is sown in order to produce well
It is usually after the First rainfall in the year for most crops except where irrigation is practised, However, the planting date varies for different crops. This is due to the of the crops.
For example, some grains and legumes require little rainfall for growth and production and a dry period for the grains and pods to get dried,
Vegetables, especially the leafy types require a wet period for their growth and production. This is why a specific period of the year is recommended for the growth of various crops in the different parts of Nigeria and West Africa,
for example, early maize is planted in the South between late February and April, late maize in August/September while it is planted June in the North. Cotton is planted in June. read cultural practices in maize cultivation
Late yam is sown between March and July, June or November around the riverine areas as an early crop. Cassava is cultivated between March and October for good harvest.
The actual date of the day planting is done is referred to as the sowing date.
For instance, maize is grown between February and April but the actual day of planting a plot could be the 28th of February, which becomes the sowing date.
The observation of the correct date of planting enables crops to escape pests and diseases, failure of crops and maintain high yields.
Planting distances or spacing under cultural practices
This is the distance given between one stand of cultivated crop and another. It varies from one crop type to another. When correct planting distance is observed, it enables \’crops to have high yields, as the nutrients and water available would be enough for the crops
It also allows space for carrying out cultural practices such as weeding fertilizer application pest control and so on.
It ensures that land is not wasted because only the number of plants that the land can take is planted.
It prevents overcrowding of crops which may result in poor yields.
The recommended planting distances for some common, garden crops are:
Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum): 40cm to 60cm between rows and 30cm to 50cm between \’plants or stands
(b) Okra (Abelmoschus): 60cm – 90cm between rows and 30cm between plants or within a row
(c) Cow-pea (Vigna unguiculata): 80cm between rows and 30cm within rows
(d) Yam (Dioscorea spp): I\’m between rows and 1m between plants (e) Maize (Zea mays) 90cm between rows and 30cm along rows. (f) Cassava (Manihot esculenta): 1m between rows and 1m between plants or along rows. (g) Carrot (Ducus carota): 40cm between rows and I cm to 15cm along the rows,
(h) Rice (Oryza sativa): 30cm between rows and 15cm along the drills or broadcast. (i) Guinea corn (Sorghum spp): 60cm apart for tall varieties and 20cm to 30cm apart for dwarf varieties.
(j) Groundnut (Anichis hypogaea): 25cm apart and along rows.
3. Cultural Seed rate,
This is used to describe the amount of planting materials required to plant one hectare of land. It is usually expressed in kilograms per hectare when seeds are used for planting. If plant parts are used. it is expressed in the number of stands per hectare.
4. Cultural Planting depth for crop
This refers to the depth of the holes in which a seed or seedling or planting material is put or planted.
It is advisable not to allow the holes to be too deep, as it will affect the emergence of the planting materials. If too shallow, seeds could be picked and eaten up by pests such as rodents •
5. Capping The practice of using dry grasses or pieces of wood to cover the spot where yam sett or seed yam is planted either on a ridge, mound or flat is called capping.
It prevents direct heat of the sun. from diving up planting materials, and conserves moisture and optimum heat for germination.
6. Nursery and nursery practices A nursery is an area where seeds are first grown and tended till the seedlings are strong or grown enough to be planted out in their permanent beds or fields.
Consideration is usually given to crops with small seeds and those with less viability in nursery establishment. Crops such as African Spinach, Amaranthus spp, tomatoes lettuce cabbage, garden egg, pepper, citrus, oil and cocoa can be grown in a nursery.
Types of nursery:
1. Ground nursery or seed bed
2. Seed trays or boxes
3. Polythene bags
5. Carton nurseries The ground or nursery beds are not different from root beds used on the field to grow vegetables mostly, to maturity.
A standard nursery bed is 1,20m by 7.50m in size. In preparing the nursery bed, compost manure is added.
About six (6) head-pans are added to every 9m2 of the nursery bed.
The compost should be well-rotted or properly decomposed.
Poultry droppings (Guano) can also be used. this should be mixed thoroughly with the soil.
Where fertilizer is used, it should be mixed with the soil at the rate of 500g per 9m\”. The bed should be mulched properly thereafter to avoid loss of essential nutrients and conserve moisture
Seeds are planted after a few days in drills. The drills should be well-spaced to avoid root destruction during lifting for transplanting.
Good spacing in the nursery prevents the spread of diseases. The method of nursery bed preparation also goes for root beds where the crop will grow to maturity.
The nursery is watered morning and evening during the dry season. A nursery should be milled but not too thick to avoid the development of tiny seedlings.
Avoid excessive watering in the nursery as this produces tiny seedlings which are easily attacked by diseases.
Seed boxes or trays could be used as a nursery.
The boxes or trays are perforated below to allow in air and excess water to drain out.
To provide a suitable growth medium, three parts of good topsoil, two parts of properly decayed compost (not hot) and one part of river sand are mixed together and put in each box.
The boxes are sometimes made to a specification of 53cm by 9cm either with wood or metal. Seeds are planted in drills or broadcasts as the case may be.
The boxes are kept under shade. Where polythene bags are used, seedlings are easy to transport to the permanent plot. Root destruction is reduced too.
Whichever method is used in nursery preparation, even in the greenhouse, the optimum condition for growth should be provided before transplanting is done.
7. Cultural Transplanting methods
This involves lifting seedlings from the nursery and planting them out in their permanent plot or field.
Most tree crops and vegetables are raised in the nursery before transplanting.
Transplanting is done when seedlings are grown up to four or five leaves stage. It is advisable to transplant in the evening or during a dull day. Water the nursery before transplanting.
Transplanted seedlings should not be allowed to wilt.
Therefore, water immediately after transplanting to enable the soil to get in contact with the roots.
The soil is checked to about 7.50 cm deep from the topsoil. If not moist, then more, water should be applied. Only healthy seedlings should be lifted and ensure that the roots of seedlings are not damaged.
Transplanting could be carried out in two ways:
1. The ball of the earth system. 2. The naked root system.
The ball of the earth involves lifting seedlings with the earth or soil around the roots. This helps to preserve the roots and minimize shock in seedlings.
A hand trowel is used in this method for transplanting.
Before transplanting, the stands are marked and opened on the field.
Put in the seedlings and firm the soil around the roots.
It is necessary to water immediately. The naked root system involves lifting seedlings without soil attached to the roots.
This is used mainly in rubber, fruit, and tree production. Though a farmer may choose to use it in vegetable production, the ball of the earth system is more advisable, root system may be necessary if seedlings are to be transported to far places.
Where die polythene bags are used, they should be cut off carefully before putting the plant into the ground.
Cultural Post planting operations
These are activities carried out on the farm after planting has been done. These include thinning, supplying, mulching, manuring and fertilizer application, watering, weeding, pest and disease control, harvesting, farm-level processing and storage.
This is the reduction in the number of plants per stand. extra seedlings are removed from a stand where man-viable seeds germinate. Thinning should be done when the soil is moist.
The weakest of the plants on the stand is usually the one to be removed. (should be taken not to damage the remaining plants on the stand.
Press the soil around the roots of the remaining plants. It is practised with vegetable crops and cereal such as maize. Thinning practice reduces overcrowding and crop competition for nutrients, space and sunlight.
This involves covering the surface soil with any material to prevent loss of water or keep. down weeds. Sawdust, manure, straw, leaves, paper, and plastic materials are used.
It is an effective way of checking evaporation in the soil or home garden. It helps to keep down weeds, thereby reducing transpiration from their leaves.
When organic mulches decay, they add to the nutrients in the soil thereby increasing production.
The decayed products increase the water-holding capacity of the soil.
Mulching provides ways of utilizing waste products from crop production, e.g. stubble mulch.
Mulching reduces surface run-off and increases water infiltration and percolation. It also limits the effect of temperature fluctuation on crops.
After planting pure stands of any species and some do not germinate, the ungerminated stands are replaced with some more of the same species.
This is called supplying or beating up in forest management Supplies may be from the nursery or stored viable
Manure and fertilizer application
Manures of various types (organic or inorganic) are applied to the soil to improve plant growth, development and production.
They are applied both in the nursery and permanent plot. Manures should be supplied in a balanced amount or at the recommended dosage and forms.
They should be applied at the right time (read more on liming here) and under suitable weather conditions. Manures are applied during planting or just after planting and again before flowering for a good result.
Manures must not be applied directly on the crops, but a few centimetres away from each stand. This will help to avoid burning
Water is an important factor in agricultural production. The amount of water available in an area determines the type and volume of crops and animals produced in the area.
Water is needed by crops at early stages and during production. It is necessary for the survival and production of both plants and farm animals.
In small-scale production, watering cans can be used to supply water to crops. In the case of large-scale production, irrigation practice is necessary, especially in the dry season when the water need of crops is highest
The major problem facing farmers in crop production is weed control. Weeds constitute a nuisance to crop production. They compete with crops for space, available water and essential mineral nutrients.
They reduce the quality and market value of harvested farm products.
Some produce poisonous, substances that are harmful to both crops and animals on field grazing; Weeds also harbour insect pests of crops.
The control of weeds, results in a high cost of production to the farmers. The presence of weeds in fish ponds inhibits the air and light available in the pond.
This reduces the productivity of the fish in the pond. The farm should be weeded often;
Depending on the type of crops grown, weeding could be twice or more before maturity.
This can be done either by hoeing, hand pulling, the use of a cutlass or by a chemical method which involves spraying the weeds herbicides cover crops that could be planted to smother weeds.
7. Pest and disease control
Pests are organisms that feed on parts of a plant causing damage. If pests are not controlled on the farm, they might lead To crop failure.
The control of pests can be achieved through physical destruction. This involves hand picking, shaking and germ of infested crops and then destroying the pests.
Traps can also be used to eliminate pests such as rats, grass cutters, birds and some insects.
The chemical methods can be adopted if the wants farmer to control pests.
It involves the use of chemicals called pesticides to spray crops infested by pests in order to kill them Poisoned bails are also used to kill animals such as rats and grasscutters through feeding.
In some cases, natural enemies of insect pests can be introduced to feed on the pests in order to reduce the population in a farming area or zone
The control of crop diseases is an important post-planting activity in order to have a good harvest. The disease is an abnormal condition in crop plants that may show in some part or on the whole plant causing damage to the crop.
Control of diseases can be achieved through the use of clean seeds and resistant crop varieties. early planting and the use of appropriate chemicals as spray or dust on crops.
When crops have reached maturity or ripened, the products are then gathered (harvested) for use. The common crop parts normally harvested for use include tubers, leaves, fruits, seeds and others.
Harvesting of crops can be carried out manually through the use of a knife, sickle, cutlass and hoe.
In very large farms, harvesting is done with the aid of mechanical harvesters and other devices.
9. Farm-Level Processing
Processing is the conversion of crop products into other forms more acceptable or convenient to the consumers. In some instances, processing starts from the farm site.
For example, the extraction of melon seeds from the pods and pulp. and the subsequent drying is a form of processing. The peeling of cassava takes place on the farm before final conversion into garri, fufu or starch.
In cocoa production, the extraction of the beans from the ripe pod, fermentation and drying of the beans takes place, in most cases, on the farm.
Other forms of processing that cannot be carried out on the farm site are done in factories where machines are installed for the purpose
Storage involves keeping farm products for future use. When the farmer has harvested and at times processed, the last stage of the post-planting operation is storage.
There are many storage methods that farmers can use depending on the type of product. This includes the use of barn in the case of yam tubers, the use of cribs and silos in the case of grains such as maize and the use of refrigerators and cold storage in the case of perishable products, such as fruits and vegetables.
Identify and explain the different cropping systems in cultural practices.
2. Give the advantages and disadvantages of each cropping system The way a farmland is cropped varies from one farmer to the other system adopted may depend on the available farmland, the agriculture (whether subsistence or commercial), the need of the farmer and so on.
The following are the cropping systems commonly practised by farmers.
This is the growth of only one type of crop (such as maize) on a piece of land. It could be for a season or for several years as in some farming systems.
The system is also termed sole cropping.
what is crop rotation within the classification of crop
1. It makes possible the use of machines in farm operations. 2. It leads to higher productivity per hectare, 3. It also leads to specialization among farmers. 4. The control of weeds is easy. This is because herbicides can be used
1. It is risky because crop failure arising from pests, diseases or weather conditions will result in a total loss of income to the farmer for that year.
2. The system encourages the rapid spread of pests and diseases on the farm.
3. Labour may not be efficiently utilized throughout the year.
4. It does not afford the farmer a variety of crops.
2. Mixed cropping
READ MORE ABOUT THE PLANTING PROCESS HERE
This is also called multiple cropping because it involves the planting of more than one type of crop on the same farmland at a time.
It is very common under subsistence agriculture and in are where farmlands are limited. Under mixed cropping, the farmer could practice any of the following:
This is the growing of two crops together on the same land. The crop which was planted first is also harvested first while the one planted last remains on the plot to be harvested later.
An example is the growing of maize together. Maize, which is usually planted first, is also harvested first. Maize is therefore said to be inter-planted with yam.
LEARN MORE ABOUT MAIZE AS A CROP HERE
This is when two crops are grown together with the crop planted last being harvested first.
Usually, the c planted last has a shorter lifespan than the one planted first, an example is the planting of melon after the yam has been planted, The melon will be harvested first while the yam continues on the plot. Yam is therefore said to be inter-cropped with melon.
It affords the farmer a variety of crops.
2. It serves as insurance against the failure of one type of crop.
3. It minimizes the spread of diseases and pests on the farm.
4. It enables the crops to make efficient use of soil nutrients.
5. The ensures efficient utilization of labour throughout the year.
1. It does not encourage the use of machines on the farm.
2. It may lead to rapid exhaustion of soil nutrients if legumes are not included.
3. It is labour-intensive.
4. Pests and disease agents may persist on the farmland. This is because there are always food and alternative hosts for them.
3. Continuous cropping
This is the practice of putting farmland under cultivation continuously, that is. from year to year. It may take any of the forms:
READ ABOUT THE PLANTING PROCESS HERE
(a) Annual cropping:
Planting annual crops which are replaced after harvesting. This means the land is cleared, tilled and cropped every season.
This is common where land is scarce
This involves planting and maintaining the crops, usually planting permanent crops continuously on a farm is also known as plantation farming.
1. It reduces the cost of land preparation after the initial clearing and tilling.
2 It enables the farmer to construct permanent structures such as storage structures on the farm.
3 It can be practised where land is scarce.
1. The fertility of the soil is easily exhausted.
2. It leads to the destruction of soil structure.
3. It encourages soil erosion.
4. Yields me normally reduced with increasing years of cropping.
5. It encourages the build-up of crop pests and disease agents.
6. It required a high amount of money to keep the land fertile and productive.
4. Crop Rotation
crop rotation involves the planting of different types of crops in different plots on farmland during one season; and at the beginning of the next season, the crops are changed from their respective plots, while following a definite order or sequence.
The system combines mixed cropping with continuous cropping and is mainly practised by institutions of learning. For crop rotation to be successful,
certain principles must be followed Principles of Crop Rotation
(a) The same type of crop should not be allowed to follow each other on the same plot. For example, maize should not follow maize.
(b) Crops that belong to the same group should not also follow each other on the same plot, e.g. cassava should not follow yam, or to follow maize.
(c) Crops that have deep roots like yam and cassava, should be followed by those that have shallow roots such as maize and groundnut.
(d) Crops that consume a lot of nitrogen such as the cereal group should be followed by those that add nitrogen to the soil such as maize and the legume group,
(e) Crops likely to be affected by the same disease and/or pest should not follow each other on the same plot. The number of crops involved in the rotation will determine the. type of rotation.
Therefore, there could be a two-year, three-year, or four-year crop rotation. How to Design a Four-Year Crop Rotation
(a) Divide the farmland into four plots.
(b) Choose the crops to cultivate.
(c) Plant one crop on each plot, making sure the principles guiding the adoption of the system are adhered to.
(4) At the end of one season, shift the crop from plot B to A, C to B, D to C and A to D as shown in Figure 3.2.1.
(5) Follow this sequence until the fourth year is reached.
1 Maize Cassava Groundnut Yam and Melon
2 Cassava Groundnut Yam and Melon Maize
3 Groundnut Yam and Melon Maize Cassava
4 Yam and Melon Maize Cassava Groundnut Figure 3.2.1:
A Four-Year Crop Rotation,
1. It helps to maintain soil fertility.
2. It makes efficient use of soil nutrients.
3. The farmer has access to a variety of crops.
4. It minimizes the spread of diseases and pests and helps to check weeds
5. It reduces soil erosion.
6. It leads to efficient utilization of labour.
7. It is a good practice where land is scarce.
1. It is labour-intensive.
2. Crop yields may decrease with years except additional manures or fertilizers are applied.
3. It leads to the destruction of soil structure which may facilitate soil erosion.
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