The New Year is always a challenging time for farmers. They need to plan their farming activities for the year and ensure they have adequate resources to undertake all the activities. The month of January is a particularly important period as it is also the time farmers have to prepare their land for the next crop. How the land is prepared will determine the quantity and quality of crop yield at the end of the season.
To get a good harvest, farmers need to prepare their land early. After harvest, a lot of crop residue remains on the farm. Most farmers do not know the value of crop residue such as maize stalks and bean residue. To clear the land for ploughing, they burn the crop residue taking it as useless farm waste. Crop residue is valuable material that contains organic matter relevant to maintaining good soil structure and fertility.
Organic manure contains various nutrients that the next crop to be planted will require to grow well. Therefore a wise farmer should not burn any organic material on the farm. Instead, all crop residue should be ploughed back into the soil where it breaks down, releasing nutrients into the soil. Organic waste also supports a lot of microorganisms in the soil such as earthworms and bacteria, which feed on it, releasing more nutrients into the soil for use by the next crop.
Early land preparation helps to loosen the soil, making it easy for plant roots to penetrate. It also helps the circulation of air in the soil, which is essential for proper germination and growth.