Mouldboard plough reduces weeding costs
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CTA. 1994. Mouldboard plough reduces weeding costs. Spore 51. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49406
Animal-drawn mouldboard ploughs are more expedient at controlling weeds among crops grown in rows than cultivators or hand labour. In Zimbabwe many smallholder farmers own just one piece of animal-drawn equipment, a mouldboard plough. To weed their...
Animal-drawn mouldboard ploughs are more expedient at controlling weeds among crops grown in rows than cultivators or hand labour. In Zimbabwe many smallholder farmers own just one piece of animal-drawn equipment, a mouldboard plough. To weed their maize and cotton crops they remove the mouldboard and cultivate with just the ploughshare. It means three or four passes up and down the row, and some hand weeding between plants. That requires some 85 labour hours/hectare, compared to 132 labour hours for just hand weeding. Using a proper cultivator reduces labour requirements to 68 hours/hectare. Research by the Silsoe Research Institute in collaboration with the Department of Research and Specialist Services in Harare Zimbabwe, is showing that even less labour is required if farmers do not remove the mouldboard from their ploughs. Using the complete plough takes 55 labour hours/ hectare, as the plough passes up and down the row just once. Hand weeding is eliminated at first weeding because the action of the plough ridges up the row-crops, smothering weeds around the plants in the process. Weeding with just the plough-share has other disadvantages. Yields seem to be lower than from crops that have been hand weeded or crops weeded with a cultivator. Leaving the mouldboard on the plough brings yields up to the same level-and Gives the best return for labour. The technique is also the most efficient at retaining moisture in the soil when furrows created between the crop rows are tied. Stephen Twomlow Silsoe Research Institute Wrest Park, Silsoe Bedford MK45 4HS UK Department of Research and Specialist Services PO Box 8108 Harare ZIMBABWE