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Grow two or more crops together & earn twice save, twice: CROPPING SYSTEMS | BLOG SHURUWAATAGRI



To meet the need of the growing population, the resources available on land have to be utilized efficiently and effectively for which a proper cropping system should be used. A set of those elements which are interrelated and interact among themselves is known as a system.

What is cropping system?

A cropping system is a sum of cropping patterns and management which changes from place to place and environment to environment. The cropping pattern used on a farm and their interaction with farm resources, other farm enterprises, and available technology which determine their makeup is together known as the cropping system.

There are two kinds of cropping systems - monocropping and multiple cropping.





Monocropping is a system of growing the same crop on the same land year after year. It is also known as single cropping or monoculture. Cropping intensity in monocropping is always 100%.

Advantages of monocropping:

  • Sowing with the help of machinery becomes convenient.

  • Since there is only a single crop in a land so harvesting is much easier than multiple cropping.

Disadvantages of monocropping:

  • The fertility of soil gets reduced

  • Soil structure deteriorates

Multiple cropping

Cultivation of two or more crops in a year on the same land without deteriorating the soil fertility is known as multiple cropping. Within a year more crops are grown. The low intensity of irrigation and preponderance of long-duration variety is the principal limiting factors in the adoption of multiple cropping.

For example:

Sorghum-Wheat-Green Gram

Maize-Wheat-Green gram

Types of multiple cropping

Multiple cropping is of 4 types:

Intercropping means growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same piece of land with a definite row proportion or in a fixed ratio is called intercropping. For example-
Wheat + Mustard =9:1
Setaria +  Red gram = 5:1

There are various kinds of intercropping-

Companion cropping- In this, Both intercrops production is almost equal to its solid planting. For example :

Mustard/Potato/Onion + Sugarcane

Parallel cropping- Parallel cropping is the cultivation of that crop which have a different natural habit and shows zero competition. For example :

Black gram/Green gram + Maize

Multilevel cropping- In a multilevel cropping system, two or more crops of different heights are grown in a certain period of time on the same piece of land. For example:

Sugarcane + Mustard + Onion/Potato

Synergetic cropping - In synergetic cropping, both crops show more yield than in their pure cultivation on a unit area basis. For example:

Sugarcane + Potato

Intercropping can also be classified into additives series intercropping and replacement series intercropping on the basis of the proportion of plant population used for each crop.

Additives series intercropping

In additives series intercropping, intercrop is added to the base crop by adjusting the crop geometry. Intercrop is a bonus crop in this system. The plant population of the base crop is not affected as of pure stand where is that of intercrop is less. Additional income can be generated from this intercropping. It is prevalent in India.

For example:

Potato can be sown between the rows of sugarcane which are 90 cm apart.

Characteristics of good intercrop:

  • The yield and growth of the main crop should not be affected by the intercrop

  • Intercrop should either mature early or after the main crop.

  • Legumes can be preferred as it maintains the fertility of the soil.

  • It should give minimum competition to the main crop by having different growth habits and nutrient requirements.

  • The root depth of the intercrop should be different from the base crop.

  • Intercrop should have different canopy development from the base crop.

Replacement series intercropping

It is highly practiced in western countries. In replacement series intercropping, both the crops are component crops in which the population of one component crop is reduced, and another component crop is introduced therefore both the crops individually have less than that recommended population in pure stand.

2-Mixed cropping
It is subsistence farming that lessens the risk of total crop failure and satisfies the farmer in food and fodder. Mixed cropping means cultivating two or more crops in the same land at the same time without any definite row pattern. It is generally practiced in dryland areas of India by the broadcasting method. The scientific study of mixed cropping was firstly done by La Flitze in 1928.
For example :
Maize + Green gram + Pigeon pea
 Sorghum + Groundnut + Pigeon pea
3- Sequential cropping
Sequential cropping is the growing of two or more crops on the same piece of land in quick succession in a year. Harvesting of the preceding crop and sowing of the succeeding crop is done simultaneously. It is non-overlapping cropping. 
For example, the potato is sown just after harvesting maize, and chili is sown just after potato digging.
4-Relay cropping
When two or more crops are grown simultaneously during the part of the life cycle of each other then it is known as relay cropping. When the first crop reaches its reproductive stage of growth, the second crop is planted.
 For example, Potato is planted before harvesting Maize, and Radish is sown before harvesting Potato. It is overlapping cropping.

Choice of crops for Multiple Intensive Cropping
  • Crop arrangement should be done in such a way that temporary immobilization of nutrients or depletion of nutrients in soil should not take place.

  • Legumes must be there in multiple cropping systems as they require less amount of water, nutrient, and light. Legumes also help in fixing atmospheric nitrogen in root nodules and enhance nitrogen availability in the soil.

  • Vegetables have high cash and nutritional values due to which they find a prominent space in intensive cropping.

  • Short-duration crops and photoperiod insensitive genotypes are highly suitable for intensive cropping systems.

Advantages of multiple cropping
  • Gross monetary return per unit area is increased.

  • Total production is increased.

  • Distribution of labor throughout the year is evenly facilitated.

  • Land, power, labor, and other resources of the farm are better utilized.


Disadvantages of multiple cropping
  • If proper soil management practices are not done then the fertility of soil can exhaust.

  • Multiple cropping can affect the structure of the soil.

  • Sometimes pest, disease, and weeds issues become difficult to control.

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