Early Ploughing

Early Ploughing
ENTRY DATE: 03 May 2015| LAST UPDATE: 03 May 2015
Categories: Agriculture | Cropping techniques
Technological Maturity: Applicable immediately
Technology Owners:
  • Farmers
  • NGOs and local government e.g. extension agents can help to raise awareness of this method among communities
Needs Addressed
  • Conservation of water resources
  • Traditional methods of water management
  • Increasing water use efficiency
  • Stabilized and/or increased productivity
  • Sustainable agricultural practices
Adaptation Effects
  • Retains moisture content of soil, improving agricultural productivity and crop yield
  • Increases food security due to increased yields
  • Enhances economic resilience due to enabling continued market activities
  • Improves water security through reducing demand of water for agricultural activity, meaning that alternative sources of water can be reserved for other needs 
Overview and Features

Early morning ploughing maximises the use atmospheric humidity to increase the moisture content of the soil. Post-monsoon evening temperature fall results in condensation of vapour into water, leaving dew and fog on the ground. The moisture remaining on the surface of the soil due to the resulting dew and fog is harnessed and stored through ploughing the fields in the early morning, before the moisture has evaporated. In doing this, the moisture is stored within the plough layer at around 100cm depth, meaning it is retained for a long period of time.


Dependent on equipment used – costs must cover equipment

Energy Source
  • Human resources if manual
  • Fuel needed for machine ploughing
Ease of Maintenance

Routine maintenance of machinery required

Technology Performance

Very effective technical approach that has been employed for centuries

Considerations (technology transfer criteria, challenges, etc.)
  • Only suitable in areas where moisture is retained in the air at night time
  • User must have access to ploughing equipment of some kind – whether machine, ox or manual based
  • Must be applied on land that is extensive enough to plough, though also applicable to smaller areas of land if conducted manually
  • Training and awareness raising needed to scale up practice to households and communities not already using it
  • May require a change in routines for new users
Co-benefits, Suitability for Developing Countries
  • Increased soil fertility and nutrient values due to extra moisture content
  • Enhanced soil conservation due to reduction of drying
  • Manual approaches secure reduced carbon emissions in comparison to other water security measures
  • A traditional method of moisture conservation, therefore many communities already have expertise and social acceptability
  • Effective and cheap
  • Easy to learn and adopt
Information Resources

Verma. L.R. 1998. Indigenous technology knowledge for watershed management in upper north-west Himalayas of India. Participatory Watershed Management Training in Asia (PWMTA) Program. Nepal: Kathmandu. Available from: http://www.fao.org/docrep/X5672E/x5672e00.htm#Contents [22 January 2015]

Lal, C. and Verma, L.R. 2006. Indigenous Technical Knowledge on soil and water management from Himachal Himalaya. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 7(3):485-493. Available from: http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/1716/1/IJTK%207%283%29%20485-493.pdf [22 January 2015]