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Ground control: Cultivating the future of seeding and sowing

Farming is one of the world’s oldest industries, and the relationship between soil and spade dates back to ancient times when early humans discovered cultivating the ground for growing plants was an effective way to foster abundance during the harsher months of the year, when food was in short supply and resources were scarce.

Ancient civilisations of nomadic hunters and gatherers scavenged the wild land to hunt and forage for survival, until around 13,000 years ago when Stone Age nomadic tribes began to cultivate small plots of land.

However, the formal practice of domesticating plants and animals did not become widespread until approximately 10,000 BC, when families began permanently settling on land to establish farming communities.

This was known as the Neolithic Revolution, and the first crops planted by these early settlers consisted of emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, peas, lentils, bitter vetch, hulled barley, chickpeas, and flax.

As farming progressed over centuries, farmers gradually gained an understanding of what practices were beneficial as opposed to detrimental to the soil on farmed field.

In addition, they learned the science behind preparing the ground for seeding and sowing.

Unless properly cultivated, soil has a finite amount of time that will be effective for planting before it loses its fertile properties. Therefore, cultivation is an important agricultural practice that involves breaking up depleted topsoil by mixing it with fertiliser and aerating seedbeds to restore the ground’s fertile properties.

“The purpose of cultivation, not to be confused with tilling soil, is to create the ideal seedbed for your crop because the quality of your ground at the start of planting season will determine the robustness of your yields during a harvest,” says Russell Randal, National Business Development Manager for Agriculture at Motion.

“Cultivating soil turns over topsoil without penetrating too deeply into the ground. Whereas, tilling the soil involves digging deep down which is a subset method of cultivation used primarily for breaking new ground. However, this is typically avoided because it disrupted the natural biology of the soil and ultimately kills the ground,” he explains.

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