This system involves the cultivation of crops and the rearing of animals simultaneously on the same piece of land or farm. The system may be practiced on a small or large scale. The farm may be divided into two parts. One part for growing crops and the other part for the growing of grass, and keeping of livestock, or the entire farm may be cultivated with grass or crop (alternate husbandry). The grass or the remains of crop serves as food for the animals, while the animal dungs and droppings are used as organic manure to improve the soil fertility for the crops. Mixed farming is commonly practiced on a small scale in Nigeria.
Advantages of mixed farming
i. Animal dung and cropping are used as organic manure to improve soil fertility, which in turn help to increase crops yield.
ii. The animals kept on the farm such as cattle, donkey, sheep and goat serve as a source of milk, meat and work animals
iii. The crop residues or by-products, such as groundnut, cowpea or rice husk can be used as. food for the animals, which help to reduce the cost of feeding the animals.
iv. It provides an alternative source of income for farmers. For example, if there is crop failure, the farmer falls back on his animals as an alternative source of income.
v. All parts of the farmland can effectively be used by the farmer. For example, i(there is a part of-the farm which cannot support the growing of crops, such part can be used for the rearing of animals.
vi. Farmers have a regular source income to provide their needs.
vi. Due to constant grazing of the animals, weed growth is drastically reduced on the farm.
Disadvantages of mixed farming
(i) The system encourages soil erosion due to overgrazing and trampling on the farmland by the animals
(ii) The animals can destroy or feed on the crops if they are not properly controlled or managed.
(i) A great skill is required by the farmer to succeed
(ii) The attention of the farmer maybe divided on how to care for both the crops and livestock at the same time
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3. 52. SOIL MICRO-ORGANISMS
4. ORGANIC MANURINGION
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