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Year by year, as the population increases, there is a continuous increase in demand for food. This increasing demand can be managed if the crop production is maintained with a high yield every year and distributed uniformly in all parts of the world. Plants of same kind, grown on a large scale, as in area in hectares are known as crops. Cultivation of crops involves basic agricultural practices like preparation of soil, sowing, addition of fertilizers and manures, irrigation, removal of weeds, harvesting and storage. Each agricultural practice will be explained elaborately in this section.
1. Preparation of soil:
In order to sow seeds, the most essential task to perform is to find soil rich in minerals and other nutrients derived from dead and decaying matter. Secondly, it is important to turn and loosen the soil so that the nutrients present in the soil are brought to the top layer which helps in the growth and development of the plant. Additionally, roots can grow deep into the soil and breathe the atmospheric air with an ease. The loosening of soil also helps earthworms and microbes to work efficiently in the soil. The process of loosening and turning of soil is done using a plough or hoe and is called as tilling or ploughing. Some areas may contain dry soil and hence it needs to be watered well before ploughing. After the loosening of the soil, manure is added so that it mixes well with the soil and result in good yield of the crop. The soil is then leveled using a leveler and watered before sowing of seeds.
Sowing of good quality seeds that result in high yield and better quality of crop is the next vital part of agricultural practices. Seeds that are damaged can be separated easily from the good seeds by soaking them in water. Damaged seeds are light and float easily in water whereas good seeds settle down in the bottom. These seeds are collected and sowed at uniform distances all over the agricultural land using devices like seed drill. Sowing of seeds uniformly prevents the plants from competing with each other for nutrients, water and sunlight.