Omprabha, Ph.D. Scholar (Agricultural Engineering), 
Department of farm machinery and power engineering, IGKV Raipur, C.G.
Saurabh sahu, M.Tech., 
Department of farm machinery and power engineering, IGKV Raipur, C.G.
Dr. Sukhbir Singh, Principal Scientist, 
ICAR-Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, U.P.

The purpose of weeding and interculture practices is to create optimal conditions for crop growth and maturity by effectively managing weeds. Weed control aims to enhance soil quality by reducing evaporation, improving water infiltration, and minimizing runoff. Additionally, it aims to lessen competition between crops and weeds for water, nutrients, and light. To achieve these goals, various tools are utilized for manual weeding and interculture tasks, operated by humans, animals, or mechanical means.

Types of Manual Implement
Tools commonly employed for interculture operations comprise khurpi, spades with narrow blades, hoes, rippers, and wheel hoes. These handheld implements are well-suited for smaller farms and are particularly effective for flower and vegetable cultivation in limited spaces such as kitchen gardens.

Khurpi: Versatile Soil Tool
The khurpi serves as a versatile hand tool, designed for tasks like soil loosening, clod breaking, field leveling, and weed removal. Although labor-intensive and relatively slow, it's ideal for small fields like kitchen gardens or ornamental gardens. Constructed with a metallic blade, typically measuring 150-250 mm in length, and a wooden or PVC handle, the khurpi's blade width of around 30-30 mm varies according to its intended purpose. Crafted from high-quality steel, its blade thickness is approximately 6 mm, with a sharpness angle of about 11° for effective weed cutting. A longer and narrower blade khurpi is suitable for weed control in floriculture, vegetable cultivation, and broadcasting-sown cereal crops, while a shorter, wider blade khurpi is employed for soil loosening, clod breaking, ridging, and weed uprooting. With a daily coverage of roughly 0.025 ha, one person can manage this tool's operation.

Spade: Multipurpose Hand Tool
The spade, a versatile hand tool, finds application in diverse agricultural tasks such as digging, intercultivation, ridge formation, irrigation channel creation, and bund construction. Comprising a medium to high carbon steel blade and a wooden handle, the spade's blade dimensions—ranging between 150-230 mm in width and 205-290 mm in length—vary based on the task at hand. The blade's edge is beveled to maintain a sharp cutting edge, which can be reshaped through grinding or whetting. Operating within specific moisture ranges in friable soil, the spade functions effectively when the cutting edge impacts the soil surface from a certain height. With an inclination angle of about 60°-70°, a person can cover an area of roughly 0.04 ha per day using a spade.

Hand Hoes: Essential Weed Control Tools
Hand hoes are essential tools for weed management and soil tilling in limited spaces. These tools come in various shapes and sizes, tailored to specific tasks. The soil-working blade's shape varies based on the type of hand hoe, with a typical working angle of 60-70 degrees for self-cleaning. The width of the blade can range from 8-25 cm, with wider blades suited for lighter soil and narrower ones for heavier soil. Hand hoes are also adaptable for digging tuber crops. Notable types of hand hoes include:

1. Hacks: It is also referred to as a straight-bladed hand hoe and is used for weeding, soil pulverization, and shallow tilling. The task is carried out either by pulling or impact. Hacks' blades are made from thinner steel sheet than hoes' blades are. It has a long wooden handle and a blade made of mild steel with a sharp edge. Standing posture is required for weeding. It is the tool that is most frequently used for weeding and interculture of vegetables and row crops.

2. V-Blade Hand Hoe: It has a v-shaped blade with a sharp edge for cutting weeds and a thin layer of soil. Pulling motions are performed to complete the task Workable width ranges from 150 to 225 mm.
It has a long handle, a frame, and a blade. The field has a working width of 15-20 cm and can process roughly 0.2 hectare each day.

3. Naini Hand Hoe: For use when standing in the field, it has a long wooden handle and a metal blade. The task is performed using an impact action. The blade has a wide one end and a small one. When working with row crops, the blade is utilised on both ends. When weed intensity is higher, the narrow end of the blade is employed, and vice versa.

4. Three-Tined Hand Hoe: It is a little weeding tool with three fine mild steel blades. It comprises of a handle and a frame with three-tine ferrules. This hoe typically weighs between fifteen to twenty-five kg. This weeder penetrates the ground deeply without clogging.

5. Rippers: Its use for more intensive cultivation and additional name of "hand cultivator" serve to distinguish between the two categories of rippers. The ripper's tines are manufactured by bending square rods of 7 x 7 mm in size. There are 1.3 and 5 tines on it. Shovel-type tines are used to pulverise the soil to a shallow depth. The working width of a single-tine ripper is roughly 5–10 cm, but the working widths of three and five tines are roughly 15-20 cm and 25–30 cm, respectively. 0.10-0.20 ha/man-days is the field capacity of rippers with a diameter of 15-20 cm.

6. Grubber Weeder: It is an easy to use and lightweight manually operated equipment used for upland row crop weeding and interculture operations. This tool consists of a long handle, ferrale, and three sweep-type blades. A pull force is used to break the soil crust and uproot the weeds. This machine is suitable for operating only on light soils and has an operating width of 100-160 mm. With a weight of about 2.0 kg, it can cover an area of about 0.005-0.009 hectares per hour.

7. Wheel Hand Hoe: The wheel hand hoe stands as a manual implement used for both weeding and intercultivation within row crops spaced over 240 mm apart. It is available in two models: the single wheel hoe and the twin wheel hoe. Constituent parts of this tool include a wheel, frame, V-shaped blade with shank, and a handle. Positioned ahead of the soil-engaging tools, a mild steel wheel, 30-40 cm in diameter, facilitates movement, stability, and depth control along rows. Task execution involves employing both pushing and pulling forces. The single wheel variant weighs approximately 4.50 kg and boasts a field capacity of around 0.09 ha/h. It best suits lighter soil conditions. In contrast, the twin wheel hoe incorporates dual supporting wheels and finds greater prevalence in black cotton soil scenarios. With a sturdier construction weighing about 9.0 kg, it covers an area of about 0.01 ha/h.

8. Cono Weeder: The cono weeder presents itself as a manually operated handheld tool tailored for weeding amidst rows of rice crops thriving in standing water settings. It excels notably in rice cultivation under the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) methodology. Twin conical rotors, mounted consecutively with opposing orientations, constitute its design.
These rotors feature a series of smooth and serrated pegs, alternating in arrangement, that serve to uproot and bury weeds. This action stems from the rotors' oscillation, creating a reciprocal movement within the topmost 3 cm of soil. The weeder's operation is characterized by alternating pushing and pulling actions. Impressive in its efficiency, this tool accomplishes weed removal in a single pass. It carries a weight of roughly 5-6 kg and manages to cover an approximate area of 0.18 ha/day.

9. Single Row Paddy Weeder: Dedicated to weeding and intercultivation duties within transplanted rice fields, the single row paddy weeder comes into play. Comprised elements include two weeding rolls, varying in sizes of 8, 10, or 15 cm, along with a float, frame, and handle.
The handle is inclined at an angle of 35° from the horizontal axis. Two distinct shafts accommodate the weeding rolls, equipped with pointed cutting edges that project forward. An additional wooden float ensures heightened buoyancy during weeding endeavors. As the tool is maneuvered back and forth, the tines on the weeding rolls execute the task of uprooting and embedding weeds into the soil. Tine lengths, ranging from 80-95 mm, consist of hot-rolled carbon steel sheet material. As a rule of thumb, the weeder possesses a width of 150 mm and can efficiently operate even in standing water depths of 5-10 cm. Its operational capacity stands at approximately 0.10 ha/man-day.