Multiple cropping or Multi cropping system in agriculture has changed the way of farming. With continuous growing population in the world the demand of food supply is increasing every year. In every part of the world, mainly in developing countries like India there is a huge potential of growth in agriculture sector.
Multiple cropping system helps farmers to double their crop productivity and income. It also helps to reduce the dependency on growing a single crop in a particular growing season. Let’s learn the definition of multiple cropping.
What is multiple cropping?
Multiple cropping is the practice of growing two or more crops in the same farm land. Instead of growing one crop in a field we grow two or more than two crops in the field in the same season.
But this doesn’t mean that we can grow any two or more crops together. Various researchers working in established and trusted research organization have found out the selection process of crops for multiple cropping.
In this article I am going to discuss in detail about the selection crops for multi cropping system and the benefits of multi cropping.
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Selection of Crops & Varieties for Multiple Cropping
Selection of crops is dependent on the following factors that you should definitely read if you want to earn good amount of profit from your farm land and increase productivity.
Prevailing Farm Conditions
An environmental scanning should first be conducted. This involves a radical ocular inspection and other methods to get information on the biotic factor which will affect plant growth and yield, soil and climate prevailing within the area, and accessibility.
Here the guiding rule is: know your farm first then select the proper crop.
The biotic factor refers to living organisms including ruminant animals, insect and other pests, disease pathogens and weeds, also as organisms having beneficial effects like civet cat population for the assembly of civet coffee and therefore the abundance of pollinators.
Where there’s prevalence of a disease during a locality, susceptible crops could also be excluded or a resistant variety could also be selected.
The topographic features of the land like elevation, slope, and terrain also because the physical and chemical properties of the soil like texture, colour, organic matter content, pH and fertility levels will determine the crops that are naturally suited.
Also, the varied climatic factors, like prevailing climate type, temperature, rainfall, ratio , incidence of sunshine , and frequency of typhoons will limit the selection of crops. Wide possibilities in crop selection could be generated because of stable supply of water.
In addition, the accessibility of the farm to and from the market will influence the selection of crops. For instance , cassava and feather palm should be preferably grown in farms with good roads and as close as possible to the market because the harvest is bulky and must be transported immediately because of the rapid rate of degradation.
Crop or Varietal Adaptability
The crops and therefore the varieties to be grown should be selected supported their adaptability to the prevailing conditions within the farm.
A useful guide is to spot the crops growing within the farm and within the neighbourhood. An interview of the neighbouring farmers also will provide valuable information on the probability of success, or failure, of growing certain preferred crops.
Furthermore, it’s a plus to possess access to lists of various crops under the varied plant classification supported natural adaptation or habitat.
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Marketability and Profitability
For those that want to interact in crop farming or, at the smallest amount , ensure financial sustainability, crop selection must consider marketability and profitability. In general, this means that the crop to be selected must be high yielding.
An accessible, stable and robust market is necessary for the farm produce such as fruit, seeds, flower or any foliage part. Efficient labour and use of inputs, can ensure the profit.
However, market and price are affected by many factors such as the number of competitors, supply and demand, development of new products, promotional campaign, and agribusiness cycle.
Resistance to Pest and Diseases
Whatever is the purpose of farming, the selection of crop should be dependent on the crop resistance to pest and diseases. Using less resistance crop variety can increase the cost of production and may even cause total loss of crop.
Use of smart, effective, friendly, easy to learn and cost effective is necessary. For crop selection one should keep in mind about the selection and adaption of growing technology of the crop.
System of farming adopted affects the crop selection. It depends on whether a farmer is doing purely crop farming or farming integrated with livestock production. Selection of crop depends on the crop production practices such as:
- Multiple Cropping,
- Hedge row-strip cropping,
- and planting patterns.
In the absence of security personnel or where there is no fence that will exclude intruders, crop selection may be done in favour of those which are not susceptible of thievery. This will avoid such crops as vegetables and fruit crops which can be easily harvested for food and for cash.
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What is the benefit of multiple cropping?
Benefits of multiple cropping are enormous. In this article I am discussing important benefits of multi cropping farming system.
- Adopting this cropping system helps in reducing the food crises of a country.
- Multi cropping system reduces the overall cost of production. For more than one crop growing on the same field that have similar water, sunlight, fertilizer needs helps to reduce the overall cost.
- Chance of pest and disease incidence reduces because of biotic environment of crops growing in this cropping system. Hence the problems associated with identification and control of pest and disease reduces.
- Weed growth and competition reduces because of this cropping system. Growth of weeds in the field is a very serious problem for the farmers. Adopting this cropping system helps to reduce the growth of weeds in the field.
- This cropping system enables farmer to grow various type of crops in the field that ensures good amount of profit and low risk of crop failure.