1. 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 type of agriculture (whether subsistence or commercial), the need of the farmer and so on. It is worthy of note that farming practice is not static as such it is evolving. So in this article we shall consider the most widely practiced farming system the world over
The following are the cropping systems commonly practiced by farmers.
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 as in plantation farming. The system is also termed sole cropping. Most often this type of farming practice involves mechanization.
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
5. It employs more labor thereby leading to greater harvest
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.
5. Most often it requires high capital investment
6. It can’t be practiced within an area where there is community farming
2. Mixed cropping
This is also called multiple cropping because it involves the planting of more than one type of crop on the same farmland in one planting season. 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: 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, cassava, groundnut, melon, yam and okra together on the same piece of land in one planting season. Maize, which is usually planted first, is also harvest first. Maize is therefore said to be inter-planted with yam.
(b) Inter-cropping: 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 intercropped with melon.
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.
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
This is the practice of putting a farmland under cultivation continuously that is from year to year. It may take any of form: this type of farming practice usually lead to soil loss of nutrients, becoming acidic
(a) Annual cropping: 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. this type of farming is mostly practiced in the southern parts of Nigeria
(b) Permanent cropping: This involves planting and maintaining the crops, usually permanent crops continuously on the farm land, it usually in plantations.
1 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 can be practiced where land is scarce.
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 such 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 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
(5) Follow this sequence until the fourth year is reached.
Yam and Melon
Yam and Melon
Yam and Melon
Yam and Melon
Figure 3.2.1: A Four-Year Crop Rotation,
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 minimize 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.
I want to re-iterate here that the various cropping systems listed in this article are not the final list of the various farming practices, so as read this article and there remembered any not listed here please feel free to leave your comment
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HERE YOU WILL FIND EVERY AVAILABLE TOPICS ABOUT AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE AND BIOLOGY. AND THE LINKS TO THEIR VARIOUS SOURCES.
1. DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURE
2. IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE
3. SUBSISTENCE AGRICULTURE
4. COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE
5. PROBLEM OF AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
6. SOLUTIONS TO POOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
7. AGRICULTURAL LAWS AND REFORMS
8. ROLES OF GOVERNMENT IN AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
9. AGRICULTURAL POLICIES
10. PROGRAM PLANNING IN AGRICULTURE
35. WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
36. FACTORS AFFECTING LAND AVAILABILITY
39. BIOLOGICAL FACTORS
40. SOCIAL-ECONOMIC FACTORS
41. ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS AFFECTING AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION
42. CLIMATIC FACTORS AFFECTING AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION
47. SOLAR RADIATION
48. BIOTIC FACTOR AND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION
52. SOIL MICRO-ORGANISMS
53. SOIL PH
54. ROCK FORMATION
55. IGNEOUS ROCK
56. SEDIMENTARY ROCKS
58. SOIL AND ITS FORMATION
59. FACTORS OF SOIL FORMATION
60. LIVING ORGANISM
61. PARENT MATERIALS
62. SOIL FORMATION TOPOGRAPHY
63. PROCESS OF SOIL FORMATION
65. PHYSICAL WEATHERING
66. CHEMICAL WEATHERING
73. BIOLOGICAL WEATHERING
74. CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL COMPOSITION OF THE SOIL
75. SOIL WATER
76. MICRO AND MACRO NUTRIENTS
77. SOIL MICRO ORGANISM
78. PROPERTIES OF SOIL
79. SOIL STRUCTURE
80. SANDY SOIL
81. CLAY SOIL
82. LOAMY SOIL
83. SOIL TEXTURE
84. IDENTIFICATION OF SOIL TYPES THROUGH EXPERIMENTS
85. RETENTION OF WATER BY VARIOUS SOIL TYPES
86. DETERMINATION OF SOIL PH REACTION
87. COLORIMETRIC DETERMINATION OF SOIL PH LEVEL
88. PH SOIL TEST
89. PLANT NUTRIENTS
90. MACRO NUTRIENTS IN GENERAL
112. THE MAINTENANCE OF SOIL FERTILITY
113. CROP ROTATION
114. APPLICATION OF ORGANIC MANURES
115. FARM YARD MANURE
116. APPLICATION OF INORGANIC MANURE
118. FARMING PRACTICES
119. BUSH BURNING
121. FERTILIZER APPLICATION
122. ORGANIC MANURING
123. FARM YARD MANURE
126. CROP ROTATION
133. FARM POWER AND MACHINERY
134. SOURCES OF FARM POWER
135. HUMAN SOURCE
142. FIELD MACHINES
164. SIMPLE FARM TOOLS
165. AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION
166. THE CONCEPT OF MECHANIZATION