Mixed Farming and Mixed Cropping Information Guide

Mixed Farming and Mixed Cropping

Today, let us discuss the Mixed Farming and Mixed Cropping.

Mixed farming is one of the agricultural methods in which more than one agricultural practices take place on the same agricultural field. The farmer can add livestock farming to the cash crop farming. The main reason for farmers to choose mixed farming is income. If mixed farming takes place, then the income of the farmers from the farm will improve as there would be many sources to make use of the land and labour in an effective way.

Suitable conditions for Mixed farming:

  • Soil should be fertile so that there would be a good amount of nutrients to meet the requirement of different crops.
  • Sunlight should also be good as there would be no overshadowing of different crops.
  • Water should be abundant as there would be different crops growing together.
  • The fertilizer which is used should be compatible with different crops which have been growing on your farm.
  • Machines or vehicles are not allowed for mixed farming.
  • Less use of fertilizers takes place as there would be sharing of resources between the animals farming and crop farming.
  • Farmers will need to work the whole year, which in turn increases the income in some or the other way.

Advantages of Mixed farming:

  • In this type of farming, the fields will not be bare at all. They would be producing some or the other crop continuously.
  • Continuous production will obviously improve the productivity of the land in the farm.
  • The profits will be improved as the land will be under production throughout the year.
  • One type of farming can support the other one in the mixed farming which will reduce the cost of food and manure.
  • If the animal husbandry and crop farming is induced in a land, then the crops will help the animals for food and in turn the waste generated by animals can be used as a manure for crops.
  • As recycling of wastes generated from plants and animals is used internally, there would be less requirement of inputs which should be bought.
  • Even if one crop fails, the farmer can compensate the loss with the other crop.

Read: Solar Sytem for Agricultural Water Pumps.

Disadvantages of Mixed farming:

  • This type of farming is tougher to maintain than the monoculture type. This is due to the number of activities which involve in mixed farming. Monitoring and maintenance of mixed farming should be very careful and hence it is difficult.
  • There is also a change that a mistake in one crop will affect the other one.
  • The farmer should have complete knowledge of the mixed farming. As there are many activities involved in mixed farming, it would be better if the farmer has good knowledge of several sections of the farming.
  • The main drawback of mixed farming is its capacity to grow the crops. If you are growing multiple crops, then there would be less chance for the farmers to grow it to the full extent due to the limitations in space.

Types of Mixed farming:

This farming can be many ways, but the classification here is done based on the combination of crops or animal husbandry or livestock which can be induced in this farming. Mixed farming systems can be classified in many ways It completely depends on the size of the field and orientation of the market.

On-farm versus Between-farm Mixing

In the on-farm mixing, mixing will be done by using the same farm whereas, in the between-farm, mixing will be done in such a way that the resources generated from each farm will be exchanged between different farms. The resources will be recycled in the on-farm mixing and in the between-farm mixing, the waste released from the animals present in the farm will be used as fertilisers for the crops.

Mixing within Crops and/or Animal Systems

In this system, multiple crops will be raised or different animals will be raised together. For example, if multiple crops are raised, then a combination of grain and legume will work well. This is because legume provides the grain with a very good amount of nitrogen. Even, there would be good space and maximum light available if perfect planting formations are chosen. Moreover, coming to mixed animals, poultry-fish production would work out because the chicken waste can be used as food for fishes.

Diversified versus Integrated Systems

In diversified systems, few of the components seem to be independent, whereas, in the integrated systems, the resources will be used to their maximum which makes it highly dependent.

The diversified system will have livestock or crops which can be independent. The poultry, dairy and crop farming can be done in an independent way. This is done to decrease the risk, but not for the recycling of resources.

The integrated system is used for recycling of resources.  The livestock and poultry can be mixed with the crops for farming and the products generated from each crop can be used as a resource for another farm. For example, the waste generated by the livestock can be used as a manure for the crops and few crops can serve the livestock as food.

Read: Agricultural Soil Testing and Garden Soil Testing.

Mixed Cropping

Mixed cropping is also called as polyculture. Planting of more than one crop takes place in intercropping. The crops will be planted simultaneously on the same farm. This is done so that, if one crop gets ripened in one season, the farmer can get income from other crops. There would be no place for weeds in mixed farming. The productivity of the farm will increase and the resources can be used to their maximum. 

Difference between Mixed Farming and Mixed Cropping:

Mixed farming is an agricultural method in which the crops will be mixed with plants for farming. These will be kept in the same field. This is done so that the crops can be used as food for animals and the waste produced by animals can be used as manure for the plants.

Coming to mixed cropping, the mixing of different crops will be done on the same farm. Here there would not be any involvement of livestock and this method is followed to make the maximum use of soil resources. 

Advantages of Mixed Cropping:

  1. In the mixed cropping, there would be a very good yield when compared to monoculture.
  2. If one crop fails in the yield, then the farmer will not suffer any losses as there would be another crop to depend for income. This stabilises the income of the farmer.
  3. The fertility of soil will be maintained as the soil will absorb a good amount of nutrients for the other crop to grow.
  4. The weeds can be controlled as the farm will be occupied by crops and there would be no space left for weeds.
  5. The crops support each other by offering themselves shade into each other.
  6. There would be an efficient use of resources which in turn increases the productivity of the farm.
  7. If mixed cropping is done with cash crops, then it gives a lot of profits.

Disadvantages of Mixed Cropping:

  1. When coming to the independent yield, it decreases as per the availability of space in the farm. If we assume that a crop will grow well in a specific season, then, though it grows well, it will not have enough space to grow as there would be other crops occupying the space of the farm.
  2. As the farmer has to know and follow different practices to raise multiple crops, the management will be tough.
  3. There would be a confusion in the utilization of water and fertilizers as we could not know how different crops react. There would be different amounts of water and fertilizers needed. So the farmer needs to have very good knowledge of each and every section of mixed cropping.

 Read: Soil pH Importance in Agriculture.

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