ICE Umeghalu, CP Nwachukwu, CO Umobi, JI Uba and OF Anonye
Department of Agricultural and Bioresources Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria
*Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
The rapid increase in population in Nigeria calls for an increase in agricultural production. Farming commences with land clearing. Traditionally, the manual land clearing method is still predominant in Nigeria, where the matchet, hoe and axe are the implement used for the operation. However, this land clearing method can no longer keep pace with the population explosion. The method is ideal for small areas of land with small trees and stumps when surplus labor is available; however, the manual method becomes tedious and costly for mechanized farming. Agricultural land clearing involves removal of natural vegetation from the land, stumping, mechanized tree knockdown, windrowing, wood-cutting and burning, removal of debris and pioneer plowing. The soil structures, crop nutrients, and soil moisturizing content crops need to grow are in the topsoil. Therefore, agricultural land clearing operations should aim at minimum topsoil disturbance-poorly cleared land results in poor yield and frequent damage to agricultural machines and equipment. To achieve adequate agricultural land clearing, special techniques, machines, tools, experienced machine operators, and adequate timing of land clearing operations are necessary. This review aims to offer information on adequate methods of agricultural land clearing, outlining the procedures to be followed, tools to employ and good timing for carrying out various stages of land clearing operations in different agricultural zones of Nigeria. Parameter for assessing good agricultural land clearing is also discussed.