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Pre-planting Operations are all the activities carried out on the farm before planting. These operations include the following:

1. Selection of Site:

The type of crop production will determine the site to be selected. Most crops require well-drained fertile soil to do well. A field with a fairly level topography is suitable for plant growth.

The availability of water, accessibility to roads and markets, and nearness to home, office, etc, are also important factors. Fertile loamy soil is the most ideal type of soil in most cases.

site selection

2. Land Surveying and Measurement:

This deals with the measurement of the land in order to determine its area, it also determines the suitability of the land for crop production.

Land Survey

3. Clearing of Land:

This is the removal of vegetation, or plant materials, growing on the land. It can be done by slashing the bush, and setting the debris on fire, or can be also done by the use of bulldozers for clearing the land.

Burning can be used to get rid of pests in a severe infestation.

A bulldozer is used to clear land.

4. Stumping:

This is the removal of root stumps after bush clearing. This operation is essential for tillage equipment to be used on the land. Stumping can be done by the use of a mattock, machete, axe, cutlass, or by the use of bulldozer. 

Stumping can be done using a bulldozer.

5. Plotting:

This is the marking out of the farmland into plots with the use of string, ranging poles, rope, measuring tapes, and pegs. The factors to be considered in plotting are;

a. The topography of the land.
b. The soil type and nutrient status.
c. The location of farm roads and paths.
d. Soil and water conservation practices.

6. Tillage:

This is the mechanical manipulation of the soil, to provide a suitable medium for plant growth. This operation can be carried out manually by using hoes, or mechanically by using ploughs, harrows, and ridgers.

Tilling the soil helps to improve soil aeration and water percolation. It helps in better root penetration.

Tillage involves ploughing, harrowing, and ridging.

Tilling the soil.

a. Ploughing:

This is a primary tillage operation, that requires the use of ploughs to cut the soil into large clod or crumbs. This operation helps to bury weeds in the soil, allows aeration in the soil, and provides a suitable medium for microorganisms living in the soil.

Ploughing is the first operation in tillage, and is quickly followed by harrowing.

b. Harrowing:

This is the breaking down of large soil clods or crumbs formed during ploughing, to obtain fine soil filth. The disc harrow is the implement used in harrowing. It helps to pulverize the soil for planting, harrowing is a secondary tillage operation, it is done after ploughing.

disc harrow
A disc harrow.

c. Ridging:

This is the gathering and pulling up of harrowed soil together, to form ridges. Ridges can be done manually by using a hoe, spade, or shovel.

It can also be done mechanically by using a disc or mouldboard to make ridges. Ridging is good for the production of roots and tubers such as yam, cassava, potatoes, and cocoyam. It also helps to increase soil depth for root penetration.


7.  Seed Selection:

This is the act of choosing and selecting good-quality seeds. Seedlings are other vegetative materials with a high germination ratio or potential.

Seeds and other materials selected for planting must be free from diseases, insect eggs, infected spores, and rot. The farmer needs a level of knowledge in order to select the best seeds for planting.

Seed selection is an important pre-planting operation
Seed selection is an important pre-planting operation.

8. Nursery and Nursery Practice:

A nursery is a conducive place, where tender crops are temporarily raised, under intensive management, before they are transplanted to their permanent site. Crops with tiny seeds and those that require proper care, at the early stage, need nursery practices.

Examples are, vegetables, citrus, cocoa and swam rice. A nursery is done for the following reasons:

  • To raise plants under intensive care.
  • To promote root growth.
  • To raise a disease-free crop.
  • To improve crop yields.
Plant nursery
Plant nursery.


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