21. Agricultural engineering in the development: tillage for crop production in areas of low rainfall.
FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin 83, FAO, Rome, Italy; ISBN 92-5-102542-8; 1990, 119 p. + annex
The objective of this publication is to provide perspectives and guidelines in the formulation of tillage strategies for the low rainfall areas, where dry-farming is practiced.
A better understanding is needed of the effects of tillage on the soil physical, chemical, and biological environments and how these environments are altered by various tillage practices.
Conservation tillage systems have been developed in a number of countries where dryland farming is practiced, but the scope of development considerably lags behind that for more humid regions.
There is little published material available concerning the efficiency of traditional dry farming systems that have been developed in Africa and Asia.
The primary objectives of tillage in any cropping system are to control weeds, enhance soil water storage and retention, reduce erosion, and to prepare a desirable seedbed.
The success of dry-farming depends heavily on the ability of the farmer to conserve water, and also to establish a suitable environment for seed germination, root growth, and control of soil erosion.
Dry-farming is practiced in the low rainfall or semiarid regions, where average annual precipitation is generally less than 500 mm.
Soils are often shallow, sandy, low in organic matter, and highly vulnerable to erosion when the surface is unprotected. During the wet season high intensity rains may result in severe runoff and erosion, and this is often followed by dry periods and severe wind erosion.
Tillage systems are generally referred to as reduced, minimum, or low tillage systems and zero till.
Conservation tillage is a term that is widely used to denote tillage systems that emphasize water conservation and erosion control.
The chapters carefully analyze:
- tillage effects on soil physical properties,
Conclusions and recommendations are drawn specifically to:
- tillage practice,
An integrated approach is required to meet the tillage objectives for optimum seed preparation, weed control, erosion control, water conservation, and preservation of organic matter.
This is a reference book to assist scientists and extension workers in explaining alternative tillage practices.
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