Land Preparation; Methods, Steps, and Factors to Consider

Tolu Adebola

Tolu Adebola

When it comes to starting up a farm, there are several variables and steps for farmers to consider. These variables will impact agricultural production and one of them is land preparation. Land preparation will ensure that the land or soil is ready in terms of nutrients and yield potential. 


What is Land Preparation?

Land preparation, commonly referred to as tillage practices, is a procedure carried out with the intention of creating the required soil conditions that will encourage greater agricultural output. 

Land preparation is one of the first activities you carry out on the land. Depending on how you go about it, land preparation could  also play a critical role in the control of weeds and pests that might threaten the soil in the future. 


Land and soil preparation is important for all sorts of vegetative slope stabilization methods. To achieve optimum success, all necessary procedures must be followed during land preparation to improve the properties of the soil.

Methods of Land Preparation

There are three methods that are commonly employed in land preparation


  • Manual Method


Due to its accessibility to practically everyone and low to no financial outlay, this type of land preparation is the most popular. These manual methods include weeding with hoes, cutting with a cutlass, and clearing the field of waste by handpicking.


  • Mechanical Method

Mechanized methods involve removing the current vegetation using machines like bulldozers, graders, tractor plows, and more. This is usually used on large properties or in dense forest areas where manual methods might not be effective.

  • Chemical Method

This involves using herbicides to eradicate the current vegetation or weed on the land; however, it is not frequently used because of the fear that these chemicals might deplete the soil’s nutrients or create more detrimental conditions for the environment. 


Steps To Follow In Land Preparation

In order to guarantee that the crops are well-established after the land is prepared, it is important to carefully choose the most suitable approach. This means that not following the proper steps can cause harm to the ecosystem, affecting both water and land resources.


Environmental consequences are regarded as the primary issue when detailing land preparation procedures. You have to put the effect it will have on the environment into consideration when preparing the land for usage. There are various steps when preparing the land, and a few of them are:


  • Pre-irrigation

This is the first step in land preparation. Pre-irrigation is regarded to as the practice of flooding the field for a maximum of three days before the initial tilling in order to wet and loosen tight and compacted soil for plowing to be made easier.


  • Tilling

The next activity after pre-irrigation in land preparation is clearing the field or site, which is also referred to as tilling. This will ensure that any undesired vegetation, such as weeds, is eradicated. This is done to clear the way for the new plantation that will be planted on the land, avoid unwanted competition with new plants and remove any weeds that may be a problem for the crop. This must be carried out carefully and intelligently in order to guarantee that the undesired vegetation is removed from the roots, avoiding any future complications and impeding the proposed crops that will be grown in the area. 


  • Harrowing 


Harrowing, which is also referred to as secondary plowing in land preparation, will help break the clumps of dirt into tiny bits. Harrowing often results in a well-aerated soil for cultivation. It also helps achieve good soil moisture, which will make it easy to work on the soil, and paving the way for critical plant life requirements such as nutrients. Harrowing the land will assist the topography of the land by leveling the slopes and allowing for the creation of beds on the soil.


Factors To Consider In Land Preparation

Land preparation is an operation that requires careful investigation. This is not just because it is a laborious process to complete, but because the outcome of the activities can affect the farm’s productivity in the future. Land preparation is an operation that requires careful investigation by taking into account a variety of factors. When preparing the land, the following factors determining the kind and extent of land preparation should be taken into consideration.




  • Soil Features

When preparing the land before farm operations begin, the characteristics of the land should be thoroughly examined and analyzed. Both the topsoil and the subsoil should be carefully sampled and tested. This will provide you with an understanding of the soil’s moisture content, texture, soil tilth, soil porosity/bulk density, water-retentive capacity, characteristics and nutrients, and structure, among many other things.


  • Topography

Another factor to consider in land preparation is the topography of the land. Topography refers to the surface patterns and characteristics of the land, as well as how they are arranged. The topography of the land has a huge effect on the agricultural operations and production that will be carried out on the land. 


The effectiveness of land preparation and soil cultivation depends on the slope gradient. The study of the topography of the land will show you where is susceptible to erosion on the farm and how to manage it efficiently so that erosion or flooding does not wash away soil nutrients when farming activities begin.


  • Land History

Before preparing the land, it is also vital to examine the farm’s history. Previous agricultural activities might have had a significant impact on the productivity of your land. The history of land usage can give useful insights as to the method of land preparation you might apply as a farmer. As a result, this knowledge can assist the landowner in selecting the best method.


  • Climate and Weather

There are a lot of agricultural operations that depend on climate and weather for their functionality, and that includes land preparation. Considering the climate conditions and the weather can help you with your choice of crops for the weather. Factors like expected temperature rises and humidity levels, changes in extreme weather events, and limitations in water availability can influence the growth of the established plantations, also leading to the choice of the methods of land preparation suitable for the weather and the climate.



Land preparation is a necessary activity that cannot be avoided, thus if it is to be carried out, it must be done correctly and effectively. Farmwella continually hosts a bootcamp to train farmers on how to set up their farms, including land preparation. In this bootcamp, we will walk farmers through realistic and practical actions they can take to set up a profitable farm. To register and save your spot, visit:


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