Cropping Systems in agriculture



Cropping Systems:

Cropping system can be referred to as the different patterns of growing crops in the farm. A farmer may be growing only one type of crop or many types of crops on the same piece of land, at the same time in each growing season.

TYPES OF CROPPING SYSTEMS

1.

MONO CROPPING OR SOLE CROPPING

This is a system of cropping where one type of crop is grown on a farm or the same piece of land at the same time. Monocropping is usually practised on large scale farms, where crops such as oil palm, cocoa, kolanuts, rubber, rice, millet, maize, sorghum, etc. are grown.
In mono-cropping, crops tend to remain in a particular land or farm for many years where permanent or tree crops are grown, while in case of annual crops, the farmer grows a particular crop e.g. maize which is harvested at maturity before planting another one on the same piece of land.
This system of cropping can only be successful, where there is plenty of farmland.

ADVANTAGES OF MONO CROPPING

(i) Mono-cropping encourages specialization
(ii) It encourages mechanization of farm operation
(iii) Through mono-cropping, management of farm crop is made easy.
(iv) The farmer can easily improve on the various farm operations to increase yield

DISADVANTAGES OF MONO CROPPING

(i) The system is very risky. The farmer may lose all his crops, if there is an outbreak or epidemic of pests, diseases, flood or drought.
(ii) There may be a build-up of pests and diseases on the farm.
(iii) The system might lead to a glut in the market of such crop, causing low price. The glut may be cause by good or surplus harvest.
(iv) Farmers may be discouraged from producing more if there is low pricing in the world market of cash crops such as cocoa and rubber.

Mixed cropping:

This system involves the growing of two or more crops on the same piece of land at the same time, during the same growing season. This system is very common among small scale farmers in. Nigeria and West Africa. Crops commonly grown under this system include: yam, cassava, maize, cocoyam, pepper, okra and melon. The crops are mixed together on the same piece of land. Mixed cropping is commonly practised where farmland is in shortfall. Mixed cropping can be categorized into two forms namely: intercropping and inter-planting.

Inter-cropping :

This is a system where a crop is grown in-between another crop, and the crop planted first is harvested last, while the crop planted last is harvested first. For example, yam can be inter- cropped with melon. The yam is planted first before melon is planted, but melon is harvested first before the yam. The principle of inter-cropping is that an early maturing crop is planted among late maturing crop, which is normally planted first, but the short season crop is harvested first.





INTER-PLANTING OR CATCH CROPPING
This system involves the planting of two crops at different times, and the crop planted first is harvested first before the second crop. For example, maize is said to be inter-planted with (i.p.w) yam or cassava. The maize is planted first before the yam or cassava is planted, and the maize is harvested first, while the yam or cassava is harvested later.
ADVANTAGES OF MIXED CROPPING
(i) Mixed cropping provides insurance against crop failure, in the sense that when one crop fails, the farmer falls back on the other crops.
(ii) The fertility of the soil is used to its maximum by the growing crops.
(iii) Protection against soil erosion by the extensive root systems and leaves is guaranteed by the crops.
(iv) Spread of pests and diseases is minimal
(v) The fertility of the soil can be improved with the inclusion of legumes in the system
DISADVANTAGES OF MIXED CROPPING
(i) It discourages farm mechanization
(ii) It is difficult to use chemical, e.g. herbicides, to control weeds under this system, because such herbicides may be harmful to some of the crops.
There are competitions between crops for nutrients, air, water, space and light, which may seriously reduce the yield of the less competitive crops




HERE YOU WILL FIND EVERY AVAILABLE TOPICS ABOUT AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE AND BIOLOGY. AND THE LINKS TO THEIR VARIOUS SOURCES.
1. DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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88. PH SOIL TEST
89. PLANT NUTRIENTS
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90. MACRO NUTRIENTS IN GENERAL
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164. SIMPLE FARM TOOLS
165. AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION
166. THE CONCEPT OF MECHANIZATION






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