Identify and explain the different cropping systems.
2. Give the advantages and disadvantages of each cropping system
The way a farmland is cropped varies from one farmer to the other system adopted may depend on the available farmland, the of agriculture (whether subsistence or commercial), the need of the farmer and so on. 

The following are the cropping systems commonly practiced by farmers farmers.  

1 Mono-cropping system of farming
 This is the growing of only one type of crop (such as maize) on a piece of land. It could be for a season or for several years. The system is also termed sole cropping. 

Advantages of monocropping system of farming
1. It makes possible the use of machines in farm operation. 2. It leads higher productivity per hectare, 3. It also leads to specialization among farmers

4. The control of weeds is easy. This is because herbicides can be used 

Disadvantages of monocropping system of farming
1. It is risky because crop failure arising from pest, diseases or weather conditions will result in total loss of income to the farmer for that year.

2. The system encourages the rapid spread of pests and diseases on the farm.
3. Labour may not be efficiently utilized throughout the year.
4. It does not afford the farmer a variety of crops.

2. Mixed cropping system of farming
 This is also called multiple cropping because it involves the planting, of more than one type of crop on the same farmland at a time. It is very common under subsistence agriculture and in are where farmlands are limited. Under mixed cropping, the farmer could practice any of the following:
(a) Inter-planting system of farming
This is the growing of two crops together on the same land. The crop which was planted first is also harvest first while the one planted last remains on the plot to harvested later. An example is the growing of maize and together. Maize, which is usually planted first, is also harvest first. Maize is therefore said to be inter-planted with yam.

(b) Inter-cropping system of farming
  This is when two crops are grown together with the crop planted last being harvested first. Usually the c planted last has shorter lifespan than the one planted first, example is the planting of melon after yam has been plant The melon will be harvested first while the yam continues on plot. Yam is therefore said to be inter-cropped with melon.

Advantages of inter cropping 1. It affords the farmer a variety of crops.
2. It serves as insurance against the failure of one type of crops.
3. It minimizes the spread of diseases and pests on the farm.
4. It enables the crops to make efficient use of soil nutrients. 5. The ensures efficient utilization of labour throughout the year.

Disadvantages of intercropping 

1. It does not encourage the use of machines on the farm. 2. It may lead to rapid exhaustion of soil nutrients if legumes not included.
3. It is labour intensive.
4. Pests and disease agents may persist on the farmland. This is because there are always food and alternative hosts for them.

3. Continuous cropping system of farming
This is the practice of putting a farmland under cultivation continuously, that is. from year to year. It may take any of forms:

(a) Annual cropping system of farming
: Planting annual crops which are replaced after harvesting. This means the land is cleared, tilled and cropped every season. This is common where land is scarce

(b) Permanent cropping: This involves planting and maintaining the crops, usually permanent crops continuously on the farm land, it is called plantations.

Advantages of permanent cropping

It reduces the cost of land preparation after the initial clearing and tilling. 2 It enables the farmer to construct permanent structures such as storage structures on the farm. 3 It tan be practiced where land is scarce.

Disadvantages of permanent cropping system of farming
 1. The fertility of the soil is easily exhausted. 2. It leads to destruction of soil structure. 3. It encourages soil erosion. 4. Yields me normally reduced with increasing years of cropping. 5. It encourages build-up of crop pests and disease agents. 6. It required high amount of money to keep the land fertile and productive.

 4. Crop Rotation This involves the planting of different types of crop in different plots on a farmland during one season; and at the beginning of the next season, the crops are changed from their respective plots, while following a definite order or sequence. The system combines mixed cropping with continuous cropping and is mainly practiced by institutions of learning.

For crop rotation to be successful, certain principles must be followed

Principles of Crop Rotation
(a) The same type of crop should not be allowed to follow each other on the same plot. For example, maize should not follow maize.
(b) Crops that belong to the same group should not also follow each other on the same plot, e.g. cassava should not follow yam, or to follow maize.
(c) Crops that have deep roots like yam and cassava, should be followed with those that have shallow roots suclh as maize and groundnut.
(d) Crops that consume a lot of nitrogen such as the-cereal group should be followed by those that add nitrogen to the soil such as maize and the legume group,
(e) Crops likely to be affected by the same disease and/or pest should not follow each other on the same plot. The number of crops involved in the rotation will determine the. type of rotation. Therefore, there could be a two-year, three-year, or tour-year crop rotation. How to Design a Four-Year Crop Rotation

(a) Divide the farmland into four plots. (b) Choose the crops to cultivate. (c) Plant one crop on each plot, making sure the principles guiding the adoption of the system are adhered to. (
4) At the end of one season, shift the crop from plot B to A, C to B, D to C and A to D as shown in Figure 3.2.1.

(5) Follow this sequence until the fourth year is reached. Year Plot A Plot B Plot C Plot D 1 Maize Cassava Groundnut Yam and Melon 2 Cassava Groundnut Yam and Melon Maize 3 Groundnut Yam and Melon Maize Cassava 4 Yam and Melon Maize Cassava Groundnut
A Four-Year Crop Rotation,
Advantages 1.
It helps to maintain soil fertility.
2. It makes efficient use of soil nutrients.
3. The farmer has access to a variety of crops.
4. It minimizes the spread of diseases and pests and helps to check weeds
5. It reduces soil erosion.
6. It leads to efficient utilization of labour.
7. It is a good practice where land is scarce.

1. It is labour intensive.
2. Crop yields may decrease with years except additional manures or fertilizers are applied. 3. It leads to destruction of soil structure which may facilitate soil erosion.

STUDY QUESTIONS 1. List the three cropping systems and give one advantage and one disadvantages of each. 2. Explain crop rotation and outline its principles. Show how you would design a Four-Year crop rotation. 3. Which cropping system would you recommend for your school farm? Explain this system and give three advantages of it. 4. Write short notes on the following: (i) Inter-planting (ii) Inter-cropping 5. State three advantages of mixed cropping and two advantages also.

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