One of the ways or sources of farming that may be utilized in agriculture is field mixed farming. This method may be used by a farmer to produce many types of plants on the same piece of land as well as rear cattle on the same piece of land. Polyculture, intercropping, and co-cultivation are all terms for mixed cropping.
At first, this approach was only utilized for household purposes, and it was primarily performed in Asia, in nations such as India, China, Indonesia, South Africa, Afghanistan, Central Europe, Canada, and Russia. It is now utilized for commercial purposes in nations such as the United States and Japan.
After 1000 CE, three sisters of mixed cropping were introduced to the Seneca and Iroquois tribes in the northeastern United States.
Maize, beans, and cucurbits (squash and pumpkins) are the three sisters in America, and they are all planted in the same hole. The maize stalks are developed, and they provide a platform for beans to climb on to grow. The squash grows low to the ground to minimize weed growth and to keep water from escaping from the soil in the heat.
Importance of Mixed cropping:
Because food demand is constantly high and land demand is always low in the modern world, mixed farming is an essential agricultural method for balancing the environment. With the aid of mixed farming, we may grow food, crops, and feed livestock on the same land.
The mixed cropping For the regeneration of biodiversity in Europe, polyculture in woods, heathlands, grasslands, and marshes has proven crucial.
Mixed crop and livestock farming:
- Expansion agriculture (EXPAGR)
- Low external input agriculture (LEIA)
- High external input agriculture (HEIA)
- New conservation agriculture (NCA)
Different modes of mixed farming:
When a scarcity of land or local fertility is managed by migration or expansion into other places where bush and forest fallow still exist, the EXPAGR mode is active. Agricultural fields may need to be shifted if local soil fertility diminishes. This mode is becoming increasingly rare as the world’s land resources are exhausted.
When land scarcity can no longer be eased by migration or the use of vast grazing pastures elsewhere, mixed farming develops in LEIA. The only way out is to enhance the use of labor and abilities due to a shortage of external inputs such as gasoline, artificial fertilizers, and pesticides. This demands the use of new approaches as well as the need to adjust demand in response to resource availability.
Because mixed farming in the HEIA mode necessitates ample access to resources such as external feed and fertiliser, resource exchange and recycling at the farm level are rendered useless. The demand for output determines how inputs are used in the HEIA mode.
NCA is a farming approach in which production objectives are matched as closely as feasible to available resources. This approach is a cross between HEIA and LEIA in that it aims to replenish lost nutrients while also attaining precision farming, cropping, and consumption patterns that are suited to local conditions.
Characteristics of Mixed farming:
- Excessive investment in farm machinery and infrastructure.
- Use of chemical fertilizers and green manures to a large extent.
- Farmers’ abilities and knowledge are required.
- Always practice mixed farming in a rotating manner, i.e., plant various types of crops in each season to maintain soil fertility in the future.
- Crops and livestock may both be raised at the same time in this system.
- In mixed farming, many crops are produced at the same time in the same location.
- Grass is a crucial component of mixed farming, accounting for at least.
- Although not labor-intensive, it is time-consuming.
Mixed farming advantages and disadvantages:
Advantages of mixed farming:
1. It assists farmers in escaping poverty.
2. It provides year-round employment as a laborer.
3. It keeps the land fertile.
4. In some situations, because it is polyculture, it produces higher yields than monoculture fields.
Disadvantages of mixed farming:
1. It is quite difficult to apply fertilizers to a single crop.
2. It’s tough to apply insecticides to a single crop.
3. It is not possible to harvest and thresh crops individually.
4. It is marketed and consumed in a mixed form.
5. Protecting crops from animals is dangerous.
Q and A:
Why do farmers practice mixed farming?
Ans:- Mixed farming is conducted because a farmer can earn more profit with the same amount of land by producing food and crops and keeping animals, and the waste from the animals may be used as manure to feed plants organically, which is why it is done.
- Farming and animal raising can both be done in the same location.
- At least two distinct types of seeds (more than two is also conceivable) are planted in a hole of soil to produce crops and food in this method.
- Every season, crop rotation is carried out to preserve soil fertility.
- Even if there is a dearth of land, a farmer can generate more money.
- Because it is polyculture, it helps to generate more profit than monoculture at times.