Importance of Land Leveling
Levelling, smoothing and shaping the field surface is an important practice for preparation of proper seed bed and directly involve in plant growth and development because all nutrients and water move according to soil gradient. Land leveling is a measure which is used in surface irrigation, such as basin and furrow irrigation. Land leveling is typically used on mildly sloping land, whereas contour farming is used to farm on modest slopes and terrace farming is used for steeply sloping land. Land leveling is primarily used by agricultural producers using surface irrigation methods (furrow, border, basin, or flood) or by those wishing to improve surface drainage of their non-irrigated field.
It is a process for ensuring that the depths and discharge variations over the field are relatively uniform and, as a result, that water distributions in the root zone are also uniform. Such kind of practice or field operations is required nearly every cropping season, particularly where substantial cultivation following harvest disrupts the field surface. The preparation of the field surface for conveyance and distribution of irrigation water is as important to efficient surface irrigation as any other single management practice the farmer employs.
There are two land levelling objectives which are commonly practiced:
- Make a slope for efficient distribution of irrigation water to the root zone of plants.
- To level the field to minimize the soil erosion and then vary the water supply for the field condition.
Land levelling always improves the efficiency of water, labour and energy resources utilization. The levelling operation, however, can be the most intensively disruptive cultural practice applied to the field and several factors should be considered before implementing a land levelling project. Major topo-graphical changes will nearly always reduce crop production in the cut areas until fertility can be replaced. Similarly, equipment traffic can so compact or pulverize the soil that water penetration is a major problem for some time. The farmer has many activities which contribute to his productivity and therefore require his skill and labour. The irrigation system should be designed with him (or her) in mind.
New equipment is continually being introduced which provides the capability for more precise land levelling operations. One of the most significant advances has been the adaptation of laser control in land levelling equipment. The equipment has made level basin irrigation particularly attractive since the final field grade can be very precise. Comparisons with less precise techniques have clearly shown that laser-levelled fields achieve better irrigation and production performance. Nevertheless, for most irrigated agriculture, laser-controlled precision is unfeasible because of the high cost of such equipment unless a large number of farmers form a cooperative or a government programme is started with subsidized land levelling as one component in an effort to improve farm production.
Land Leveling Work Falls into Two General Categories:
- Large scale land shaping prior to cultivating newly irrigated land or land that has never been graded;
- Floating of a field prior to preparation of seed beds or borders.
Benefits of land leveling: Effective land leveling reduces the work in crop establishment and crop management, and increases the yield and quality.
Higher yield: Good field leveling increases the crop yield considerably.
Better weed control: Land leveling increases yield to a large extend because it improves weed control. Improved water coverage from better land leveling reduces weeds by up to 40%. This reduction in weeds results in less time for crop weeding.
Larger farming area: Good land leveling enables larger fields. Which increase the farming area and improve operational efficiency. Increasing field sizes from 0.1 hectare to 0.5 hectare increases the farming area by between 5% and 7%. This increase in farming area gives the farmer the option to reshape the farming area and can reduce operating times by 10% to 15%.
Faster seeding/less work: Leveling reduces the time needed for transplanting and for direct seeding. Land leveling provides greater opportunity to use direct seeding
Better use of water: In leveled land water reached in equal proportion to each plant similarly same dose of fertilizer reaches to each plant. Therefore water use efficiency of plants increase ultimate growth and development.
Importance of Land Leveling
Land Leveling, smoothing and shaping the field surface is as important to the surface system as the design of laterals, manifolds, risers and outlets is for sprinkler or trickle irrigation systems. It is a process for ensuring that the depths and discharge variations over the field are relatively uniform and, as a result, that water distributions in the root zone are also uniform. These field operations are required nearly every cropping season, particularly where substantial cultivation following harvest disrupts the field surface. The preparation of the field surface for conveyance and distribution of irrigation water is as important to efficient surface irrigation as any other single management practice the farmer employs.
There are perhaps two land leveling philosophies:
- To provide a slope that fits water supply
- To level the field to its best condition with minimal earth movement and then vary the water supply for the field condition.
The second philosophy is generally the most feasible. Because land leveling is expensive and large earth movements may leave significant areas of the field without fertile top soil, this second philosophy is also generally the most economic approach.
A field leveled to high standards is generally more easily irrigated than one where undulations require special attention.
Laser Land Leveling - The Cost-effective Solution:
Laser leveling systems are commonly used in agricultural applications in developed countries like Australia, Japan, and the United States. Increasingly, laser-guided systems are being used in less developed country. The advantages are obvious:
- No waste of water to check the field level
- Reduced operating time
- Increased productivity
- Precisely leveled and smooth soil surface