Types of Farming System in agriculture

Farming System in agriculture, Agricultural systems have been used over the years by farmers to produce foods for humanity. These systems are affected by climatic conditions, vegetation and crops in different areas. This means that these factors in no small way determine the type of system that could be used in an area for production.

irrigation and farming systems

Shifting Cultivation system of farming

This is the practice of farming on a piece of land for some years then abandoning it for another piece of land also known as bush fallowing

It is mainly used under subsistence agriculture and in areas with abundant farmland which is the opposite of land tenure system. Under this practice, the farmer may not return to the Hire land in life.

At times, however, he may return after the land has been left fallow (that is, without cultivation) for several years. The period of no cultivation is termed fallow period, hence this system is also called bush fallowing.


  1. It helps to replenish the fertility of the soil in a natural way.
  2. It prevents the rapid spread of crop pests-and diseases.

  1. It helps to control soil erosion.
  2. The system reduces farmers’ cost of production in terms of erosion control practices and fertilizer usage.

read about pre-planting practices in agriculture here


  1. A lot of time and energy is usually spent by farmers in preparing fresh land for planting. 2. It leads to the destruction of valuable forest resources such as wildlife and timber trees. 3. It helps to control soil erosion.
  2. The system reduces farmers cost of production in terms of erosion control practices and fertilizer usage. 2. Land Rotation This is a modified system of shifting cultivation or bush falllowing. The system involves dividing an available farmland into portions. The farmer (then) farms on one portion for some time before moving to the next portion, in a definite order. This illustrated below: Land Rotation The system is practiced in areas where farmlands are limited are where=”” food=”” crops=”” are=”” mainly=”” grown.=”” advantages

1 . it helps to main the fertility of the soil. 2. It also helps to reduce the build-up of pests and disease organisms. 3. It reduces soil erosion. Disadvantages 1. The system does not encourage production of permanent crops such as cocoa 2. Diseases and pests can spread easily from old plot tn new .

  1. Pastoral farming This system involves the rearing of animals that feed on forage crops (grasses and legumes), such as goats, sheep and cattle.

Pastoral farming could take any of these two forms:

(a) Ranching: This is a system of keeping animals in a fenced expanse of land containing forages (grasses and legumes) for them to feed on. Examples are Obudu cattle ranch, in Cross River State, Igarra cattle ranch in Edo State.

(b) Nomadic herding:

This involves the movement of grazing animals from one place to another in search of fresh pasture and ‘ water. This is mainly practiced by the Fulani nomads of northern Nigeria. This system is also called pastoral nomadism or pastoral farming.


  1. It provides a source of animal protein.
  2. The system is not too costly because natural grasses are fed upon by the animals.
  3. Less labour is required as;one man can cater for a large number of animals.


  1. It is highly laborious for the herdsmen particularly the nomads.
  2. Animals can only be reared in grassland areas where they can have access to feed.
  3. The productivity of the animals is affected by availability of pasture crops. The latter is affected by seasonal changes.

Mixed Farming

This is the combination of crop production with animal production on the same farmland. This is mainly practised on commercial farms where large units of livestock such as poultry, pigs, etc. are kept along side the cultivation of crops like maize,rice, and vegetables.

1. It ensures steady supply of income for the farmer.
2. It ensures against failure in one of the two enterprises (that is, crop production and animal production.
3. The farmer will be able to replenish the soil for crop cultivation using the manure from the animals.
4. The farmer can also supply feeds to the animals from the crop products.
5. The farmer and his family have access to good food obtained from both his crops and animals.
6. The animals may serve as source of power on the farm, e.g bullock can be used to pull ploughs or harrows.


1. It requires a great deal of knowledge, skill, time and labour from the farm
2. When animals are reared on the same land where crops grown without fence, the animals may damage the crops.
3. It is expensive to operate – especially in respect of the skill personnel needed.

Ley Farming

This system of farming is not so common in our communities except in experimental stations.
It involves alternating arable or production with the growing of forage crops on a piece of land, instance, a farmer may use a piece of land to grow food crops about two years and then use it for growing forage crops to animals for some other years.
The land is reploughed and planted with food crops again. The farm land is referred to as ‘ley’ during the period it is covered with forages.

Advantages of ley farming

  1. The pastures, especially the legume species help to replenish the soil fertility.
  2. Soil erosion is controlled through the system because at no point in time is the land exposed completely for too long a time 3. It also helps to reduce the build-up of pests and disease agents on a farmland.
    It is not easy to practice, hence the system is not popular in farming communities.
    forage crops usually become weeds on the farm when they are is cropped with food crops and they are often difficult to terminate.
  3. Taungya Farming
    This is the system whereby food crops are grown alongside trees.
    It involves clearing forest land (forest reserve). and food crops. Later, tree seedlings are planted in between crops to continue on the land after the food crops have been harvested.
    The system is practiced in forest reserves in the southern part of Nigeria where the State Governments allow the use of forest reserves for farming.

Advantages of taungya farming
1. The fertility of the soil is usually high for crops to use for maximum productivity.
2. It is an economic way of replacing unwanted forest with desirable tree species.
3. The land is always protected against erosion.
4. The timber seedlings are protected by the food crops in their early stage of life.
5. The system provides avenue sources of income to government

Disadvantages of taungya farming
1. It leads to destruction of natural forests which may result in the loss of many forest resources.
2. At times, the needed forests may not develop because most farmers do not cater for the forest trees as they are left to die under heavy cropping with cassava or plantain.
3. The system does not allow the cultivation of permanent crops such as cocoa, rubber, and oil palm.

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