Mixed and Supplementary Croppingby PR Sarkar
Our system of integrated farming is designed to utilize every inch of land. The surface, the sub-surface and the space above the surface is to be used 100%.
This is done through 3 main systems of cropping:
- mixed cropping
- supplementary cropping
- crop rotation
Cultivation should be done on the cooperative basis.
Only cooperatives can support the expanding economic requirements of agriculture, like creating ponds, purchasing machinery, uniting local people to pressurise the government for irrigation facilities, etc.
Through the cooperative system, 4 crops of rice in a year can easily be grown from any plot of land.
In mixed cropping, 2 or more crops are grown in a field at the same time.
For example, potato, spices, brinjal, pumpkin and cauliflower are suitable for mixed cropping. Mixed cropping reduces soil erosion and the wastage of agricultural land, and makes better use of water.
It also helps retain the fertility of the soil. For instance, legumes add nitrogen to the soil whereas maize consumes nitrogen. So these crops should be planted together.
Well-selected plant combinations maintain the fertility and structure of the soil.
Supplementary cropping uses a main crop, and a minor crop as support. This is different from mixed cropping where all crops are major.
Some examples of mixed cropping and supplementary cropping include the following:
- Turmeric, ginger, pán and cauliflower can be grown among the sandalwood trees until they are 7 years old.
- Cauliflower can be grown throughout the year.
- Sesame can be grown as a mixed crop with peanut.
- Peanut grows its fruits under the ground, while sesame grows its fruits above the ground.
- Linseed can be grown as a mixed crop with soybean.
- Soybean may be grown along with peanut, sesame or jute.
- Cotton can be grown with sweet juice potato and sweet potato.
- Cotton can also be grown with brinjal and chilli.
- Black gram can be grown with turmeric, sugar cane, green leafy vegetables, brinjal, green chilli and radish.