Great Ways in Choosing Successful Cropping System

A cropping system can be defined as the different patterns or ways of growing crop in the farm.A farmer may be cultivating only one type of crop or many types of crops on the same piece of land, at the the same time in each season of growing.

Types of Cropping Systems

There are many cropping systems which include

  1. Mono cropping or sole cropping
  2. Mixed Cropping 
  3. Intercropping
  4. Alley Cropping

Mono cropping or sole cropping: This is a system of cropping in which only one crop is cultivated on a farm or the same piece of land at the same time. Mono cropping is usually practised by a large-scale farmer that has money to invest and produce in large quantities. The crop planted in mono-cropping includes oil palm, cocoa, rubber, kola nut, rice, millet, maize etc are grown.

In mono-cropping, crops usually remain on a particular farm or land for many years where permanent crops like trees are grown, while in the case of annual crops, the farmer grows a crop e.g maize which is harvested at maturity and plants another one on this same piece of land that year.

This system is sound and can be successfully practised in a place with plenty of farmland.

Advantage of Mono cropping 

  1. Mono cropping encourages farmers' specialisation
  2. It encourages the use of machines because they harvest in large quantities.
  3. Through mono-cropping, the management of crops is made easy because pests of other crops will not affect them. 
  4. The farm yield can easily be increased by improving some farm operations.

Disadvantages of mono-cropping

  1. The system is very risky. Farmers may lose all their crops if there's an outbreak or epidemic of pests, diseases floods or drought on the sole crop.
  2. There will be a surplus or good harvest that will affect the price of that particular crop. Since there are no good storage facilities.
  3. There may be a build of pests on the farm
  4. Farmers may be discouraged to produce the crop due to low pricing which could lead to scarcity in the next season.

Mixed Cropping: This is a system of growing two or more crops on the same farmland at the same time, during the same growing seasons. This system is very common among small-scale farmers in West Africa. Crops grown in mixed cropping include yam, maize, cassava, cocoyam, pepper, okra and melon. The crops are planted in a mixed form on the same piece of land. Mixed cropping is practised in a country where is not enough farmland. Mixed cropping can be categorized into two forms namely: intercropping and interplanting or catch cropping.

Intercropping: This is a system cropping system mixed where a crop is grown in between other crops, and the crops that are planted first are the ones harvested last while the crops planted last is the one harvested first. For example, yam can be interplanted with melon.

The yam is planted first while the melon is planted last but the melon is harvested first. The principle of inter-cropping is that early-growing and maturing crop is planted among the late-growing maturing crop, which is normally planted first, but the short-season crops that are always annual are harvested first.

Inter-planting or catch cropping: This is a system of the planning of two crops at different times, and the crop planted first is harvested first before the second crop. For example, maize is planted first before yam or cassava is planted, and the maize is harvested first, while yam is harvested later in the year.

Advantage of mixed cropping

  1. Mixed cropping is when the two crops cannot fail at the same time. That is, it creates insurance for farmers.
  2. Mixed cropping protects the soil from soil erosion by the root system as leaves are shed by crops
  3. The spread of pests and diseases is not much in mixed farming
  4. Planting leguminous crops with another crop will improve the fertility of the soil.

Disadvantages of Mixed Cropping

  1. It discourages using the machine because if a machine is used to harvest one crop the other crop will be destroyed.
  2. It will be difficult to use chemicals e.g herbicides to control weeds which will make some plants die.
  3. There will be competition between the crops for nutrients like air, water, space and light which may reduce the yield and survival rate of the less competitive crops.

Alley Cropping: This system is a process whereby food crops in planted between hedge rows of farm trees, which must undergo regular pruning every fix to six weeks. The species of crops that can be used in practising Alley cropping include nitrogen-fixing gliricidia and Leucaena. The spacing between plants and trees is always 4 metres, this allows enough space for the food crops. The soil nutrients are recycled through the decompression of the organic residue from trees.

Advantages of Alley Cropping

  1. The pruned leaves which have a low survival rate help in the feeding of ruminants animals in the dry season as fodder.
  2. The shades that the plants provide suppress weed growth.
  3. Alley cropping serves as a good alternative to bush following.
  4. The leaves that are pruned serve as mulching materials.
  5. The branches or stems can be used as a yam stake or firewood.
  6. The nitrogen-fixing plants fix nitrogen for food crops.

Disadvantages of Alley Cropping

  1. Nitrogen supply may fall short to the crops if the non-nitrogen plants are used.
  2. This system may require more work to practice on a large scale.

Continuous Cropping: This a system which involves growing the same types of crops, on the same piece of land every year. The system is practised in a place where there is a scarcity of land and a dense population, or where environmental conditions limit the types of crops to be planted. Crops such as millet can only be grown in the Northern parts. This system is very stressful because the farmland loose fertility quick which makes the farmer buy organic and inorganic manure.

Advantages of Continuous Cropping

  1. A lot of time, energy, and money are saved since farmers don't have to clear the farmland every year.
  2. It helps in the economise uses of farmland

Disadvantages of Continuous Cropping

  1. Continuous cropping exposes the soil erosion
  2. It leads to rapid loss of soil fertility since farmland does not rest.
  3. A lot of money is spent on buying fertilizers.
  4. Encourage the low yield of crops

Factors that determine the adoption of a cropping system

Many factors determine the use of certain Cropping systems. These includes:

  1. Climatic Factors - These factors include rainfall, relative humidity, and temperature.
  2. Soil Factors - The soil Factors include topography, physical and chemical conditions, and availability of nutrients in the soil.
  3. Economic Factors- These factors include transportation facilities, marketing structures and price.
  4. Social Factors - This includes people's tastes and local beliefs, which determine the types of crops to be grown and the cropping system that should be adopted.
  5. Technological Factors- The technological advancement of any country, can in no small way contribute to the type of cropping system one may adopt.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.