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close this bookBetter Farming Series 15 - Cereals (FAO - INADES, 1977, 51 p.)
close this folderGrowing cereals in the modern way
View the documentClearing land and grubbing out trees
View the documentConserving and improving the soil
View the documentApplying manure and fertilizers
View the documentPreparing the soil
View the documentSelecting and preparing seeds
View the documentSowing in rows
View the documentHow to look after cereals
View the documentHarvesting
View the documentSelling part of the harvest

Preparing the soil

Farmers till their soil. Tilling means turning over the soil.

· Why tilling is needed

Tilling stirs up the soil. Then water and air can get right into it. Tilling loosens the soil. Seeds germinate easily in loose soil, and roots go well down.

Tilling mixes herbage with the soil. It cleans the soil. The herbage rots in the ground and makes humus. If manure has been spread, tilling mixes it with the soil.

· The time for tilling

Tilling is best done at the end of the rainy season, just after the harvest.
Then the ground will be prepared and sowing can be done as soon as the rains come.

If tilling is not possible after the harvest, it must be done as soon as the rains begin, so that the sowing is not too late.

· How to till

Tilling can be done with a hoe. But the work is long and tiring. The work is not done well; the soil is not fully turned over.

It is better to till with a plough. You must be a modern farmer, and till with an animal- drawn plough, using an ox or donkeys or a horse. Then the work is done more quickly and better. The soil is well turned over; water and air get well into the ground. You can sow in good time, you can cultivate bigger fields.

Handles for holding the plough

· Harrowing

After tilling, the soil is often not flat. There are big pieces of earth, big clods. To break up the clods, use a harrow. This is a tool with teeth that break the clods and make the soil flat. The harrow is drawn by an animal.


If you do not have a harrow, make an animal drag large branches over the soil. The branches break up and crush the clods.

Animal drag large branches over the soil